People matter…

People drive performance – not technology, performance goals, strategy, or anything else.1

Sylvia Melena

So, understanding how people tick is a leadership game changer. When you know where your direct and indirect reports are coming from, you’re able to advance the well-being of PEOPLE and drive PERFORMANCE—at the same time.

Understanding People

The DISC Model helps you understand people at a deeper level because it gets at the heart of what drives their actions:  needs-motivated behavior and emotion. 

DISC is a four-quadrant model comprised of four primary DISC Styles.

In this post, I’ll provide you with a brief summary of the observable behaviors of each of the four styles.

The Key Behaviors of the Four DISC Styles

DISC Style behaviors are neither bad nor good, and no style is better than another. They’re just different.

Learning to identify the DISC Styles of your team members is your first step in understanding where they’re coming from, adapting your approach to meet their needs, and elevating your leadership communication.

The following are some of the key observable behaviors of the four primary styles:

Style 1: Dominance – High “D” Style

  • Demonstrates a cool, independent, and competitive nature
  • When working alone, completes tasks and projects with impressive speed
  • Is swift with action and decision-making
  • Takes control and gets impatient with slow action or lack thereof
  • Wants the freedom to manage self and others
  • Demonstrates low tolerance for people’s feelings and attitudes
  • Does not readily embrace advice
  • Performs extremely well in administrative tasks

Style 2: Influence – High “I” Style

  • Demonstrates spontaneity and decisiveness
  • Enjoys participating
  • Doesn’t enjoy working alone
  • Tends towards exaggeration and generalization
  • Is inclined to dream and get others excited about the dream
  • Easily hops from activity to activity
  • Works with others with speed and excitement
  • Looks for admiration and recognition
  • Possesses excellent influencing skills

Style 3: Steadiness – High “S” Style

  • Takes it slow when it comes to actions and decisions
  • Enjoys close and deep relationships
  • Is averse to workplace conflict
  • Demonstrates strong listening skills and support of others
  • Has great ability to counsel others
  • Is not naturally strong at goal setting and giving direction
  • Has a knack for gaining people’s buy-in and support
  • Works with others in a slow and cohesive manner
  • Looks for safety and belongingness

Style 4: Conscientious – High “C” Style

  • Marked by caution in taking action and making decisions
  • Enjoys organization and structure
  • Does not enjoy involvement
  • Asks lots of questions about task and project details
  • Thrives best in a work environment that’s task-oriented, objective, and intellectually stimulating
  • Does not want to be wrong and, thus, may collect too much data and overanalyze
  • Works slowly, precisely, and alone
  • Demonstrates excellent problem-solving skills

Based on the key behaviors summarized above, which of the four primary DISC Styles describes you best?

The DISC Model is a simple but powerful tool that can help you understand why people, including you, behave the way they do. This information is the key that unlocks the door to more effective, impactful, and motivating leadership communication. And it drives performance the right way.

DISC Team Dynamics Facilitator Bundles

DISC Team Dynamics Facilitator Bundles

DISC Training for Leaders

DISC Training for Teams

DISC Training for Leaders

About the Author

SYLVIA MELENA is the Principal of Melena Consulting Group, a leadership and organizational development consulting firm. She is also the two-time international award-winning and best-selling leadership author of Supportive Accountability: How to Inspire People and Improve Performance and its Spanish translation, Responsabilidad solidaria: Cómo mejorar el rendimiento laboral por medio del apoyo.


1Melena, Sylvia. Supportive Accountability:  How to Inspire People and Improve Performance. La Mesa, CA: Melena Consulting Group, 2018. pp. 7 - 10.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles