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The Four DISC Behavioral Styles

How do you deal with different personalities under stress?

How do you build productive teams with the right people in the right roles?

How do you manage, motivate or sell to persons with different communication styles than your own?

I've worked in the people business since I was a child helping my grandmother at her clothing boutique in Little Havana, Miami. Being a bit of a ham early on, I would help her with entertaining the clients. Her clients loved her. I noted how well she would build confidence and loyalty with them. She had an innate sense of how to connect with people, which made her a very successful business woman, despite being a Cuban exile who had arrived in Miami with nothing - not even a formal education. I observed her keenly, the magical way she connected, hoping that when I grew up some of her magic would rub off on me.

I understood quickly that the secret to success was successful connection.

My first job in hospitality was as an 18-year-old Singing Waitress in SOHO, New York. When you work with people in high-paced environments, you either learn quickly how to manage different behavioral styles or fail miserably. I was determined NOT to fail. I found success and an immense education through many years in the industry. Then, I became a Manager. My natural people skills helped a great deal, but were insufficient to tackle the personalities that I found most challenging, the ones most unlike my own.

While working for an international hotel group in Beverly Hills, I had the opportunity to attend an F&B Executive Retreat where I was first introduced to DISC.

It changed everything!

The DISC Assessment is one of the most trusted tools used by highly successful companies world-wide to build productive teams, improve customer service and sharpen sales skills. It is an assessment that determines which of four basic behavioral styles a person will tend to default to, their Natural Style. The kicker is that it can also show when a person is "flexing", manifesting a behavioral pattern that does not come naturally, their Adapted Style. A person may be forced to adapt because of upbringing or career demands, like a shy and reserved person in a sales role. This "flexing" can produce a great level of tension within that person and those around them. However, knowing how and when to adapt is key to connecting with people who have different styles than your own.

The great news is that there are ways of mastering this tool to help you manage internal and external tensions. I love this so much that I became certified as a DISC practitioner. It is one of the most important tools in my coaching and corporate training toolbox. But it is also instrumental in handling everyday life, family, friends and especially your marriage (just ask my husband!)

It begins with a thorough understanding of the four DISC styles. Here is a quick overview:


1: Dominance – High "D" Style

• Decisive actions and decisions

• Likes control, dislikes inaction

• Prefers maximum freedom to manage himself and others

• Cool, independent, and competitive

• Low tolerance for feelings, attitudes, and advice of others

• Works quickly and impressively alone

• Good administrative skills

2: Influence – High "I" Style

• Spontaneous actions and decisions

• Likes involvement

• Dislikes being alone

• Exaggerates and generalizes

• Tends to dream and gets other caught up in his dreams

• Jumps from one activity to another

• Works quickly and excitedly with others

• Seeks esteem and acknowledgment

• Good persuasive skills

3: Steadiness – High "S" Style

• Slow at taking action and making decisions

• Likes close, personal relationships

• Dislikes interpersonal conflict

• Supports and actively listens to others

• Weak at goal setting and self direction

• Has excellent ability to gain support from others

• Works slowly and cohesively with others

• Seeks security and belongingness

• Good counseling skills

4: Conscientious – High "C" Style

• Cautious actions and decisions

• Likes organization and structure

• Dislikes involvement

• Asks many questions about specific details

• Prefers objective, task-oriented, intellectual work environment

• Wants to be right, so can be overly reliant on data collection

• Works slowly and precisely alone

• Good problem-solving skills

You may see yourself in one or two of these. It is very possible to have high tendencies toward more than one style. The question is, when under stress and left to your own devices, which do you default to? This is most likely your Natural Style.

How can you quickly assess someone else's DISC style so you can best interact with them?

That is a great question!

For the answer, stay tuned to my next blog article-

"The Four Basic DISC Clues"

When you can understand this, you will better understand yourself and those around you, so that you too may tap into the magic of successful connection.

-Mitch Savoie Hill, CPC

CEO, TEDx Speaker & Lead Trainer

SavHill Consulting LLC

Be sure to check out my next Blog Article -

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