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Getting to Know You: Part 1

Getting to Know You – Part 1

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle. 

Have you ever asked the questions? Why do I do act the way I do?Why do certain friends respond the way they do? If you have ever wondered why you or anyone else behaves in a particular manner, you should consider taking a personality assessment test. Personality assessments are popular tools used by schools, churches, and organizations to assess individuals’ strengths and weaknesses and how they can best maximize their influence. There are so many popular personality assessments. Most people are familiar with the Enneagram, Myers Briggs, and Strength Finders, however, there is one that many scholars have acknowledged as an effective instrument to a person’s traits or natural ways of behaving in a particular environment. This instrument is known as the DISC personality profile.

When students attend SLU 101, one of the fun and interactive leadership sessions they participate in is the DISC session. The DISC profile describes human behavior in various situations. It is designed to help improve communication and person to person interaction. It is often used in organizational leadership as well as within regular day-to-day relationships. This assessment helps individuals understand how to best respond to challenges, how they influence others, their preferred pace at work or school, and how they respond to rules and procedures. 

Different from other personality tests, the DISC Model of Traits and Behavior proposed by William Marston, a physiological psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1929, explaines how normal human emotions lead to behavioral differences among people and how people change their behavior based on situations. This system theorized that human behavior could be studied on a dual model according to people’s perception of their work environment. DISC is broken up into four measures, each representing 4-types of behaviors:

  1. D: Dominant/Direct – People who are both outgoing and task-oriented. They are dominant and direct because they usually focus on results, problem-solving, and the bottom-line. 
  2. I: Inspire/Influence/Interactive – People who are both outgoing and people-oriented. They are inspiring and influencing because they usually focus on interacting with people, being the life of the party, never meeting a stranger, and always creating exciting experiences.
  3. S: Steady/Submissive/Supportive – People who are both easy-going and people-oriented. They are steady and supportive because they are usually loyal people who focus on preserving relationships and maintaining peace and harmony. 
  4. C: Calculated/Compliant/Correct – People who are both easy-going and task-oriented. They are calculated and compliant because they usually do not make a move unless they are 100% sure the facts and rules are correct. 

FUN FACT: The DISC assessment can help you best understand yourself and others by describing four primary behavioral styles. However, you can and likely will, at some point, display all four styles depending on your situation and current environment. It’s called a style blend. In your style blend, you may have more of some traits and less of others, but you will have more than one.

WHY DISC: What makes DISC so unique is that it is a method of identifying predictable actions and personality traits within human behavior. Four pros of using DISC are: 

  1. It is simple and easy to understand. 
  2. It is a neutral instrument that does not have right or wrong, good or bad styles and behaviors. All behaviors have strengths and limitations and are uniquely positive. 
  3. It is practical and can be applied to your everyday life. 
  4. It has useful applications in social, professional, and family relationships, and it is a fantastic tool for self-development.

YOUR TURN: If you have never taken the DISC test before and you had to guess who you are based on these brief descriptions, what letter would you say best describes you? 

GOING DEEPER: If you are interested in going deeper, over the next few weeks, we will have some fun and take an in-depth look at the characteristics of each style, identify famous movie characters with similar behaviors and learn tips on how to lead each style well. Stay tuned! You don’t want to miss part two!

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