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How Professionals Use the Four D.I.S.C Personality Types

How executives I coach use the Four Perceived personalities model to better influence, lead and manage.

While coaching executives, asset managers, real estate agents and other specific clients, I’ve used multiple personality assessment tools from different backgrounds that assess different traits.

The one that comes up the most frequently and that is the most useful is the DISC Personality Types assessment. It splits people into two axes:

  • Emotional versus Logical;

And:

  • Fast-Paced versus Slow-Paced;

You’re either Emotion- or Logic- Oriented, and either Achievement- or Stability- Oriented. These two combine, so if you’re Emotion-Oriented, you can be either be also Achievement or Stability. So, in short, all four combinations are:

  • Logic and Fast-Paced: The Dominants;
  • Logic and Slow-Paced: The Analysts;
  • Emotional and Fast-Paced: The Passionates;
  • Emotional and Slow-Paced: The Nurturers;

Each of these have very simple descriptions that allow you to easily identify someone’s personality type with this framework:

  • Emotional people are focused on stories, on innovation, on impulses and attraction. Whether Passionates or Nurturers, they love in some way excitement, optimism, positivity the big picture, relationships with others. They are inspired by stories, visions, examples;
  • Logical people focus on the numbers, the processes. Whether Dominants or Analysts, they want to stick to the facts and don’t particularly care about others or the vision. Many of them are pessimistic by nature and want to avoid risk, sifting through hundreds or thousands of possibilities before settling on one.

In the Achievement versus Stability axis:

  • Fast-Paced people are focused on achieving and expanding. Whether Passionates or dominants, they focus on beating challenges, achieving goals, and in many cases overtaking others and proving themselves better;
  • Slow-Paced people are focused on consolidation current processes, relationships. Whether Nurturers or Analysts, they want to grow, nurture, help, solidify what they already have.

Some careers mostly define the type of people that are in them:

  • For example, Slow-Paced and Logical people (The Analysts) are usually lawyers, accountants, financial managers – careers that require stability and logic;
  • Fast-Paced and Logical people (The Dominants) might be CEOs, hedge fund managers, CTOs, or any other career that combines logic and achievement.
  • Slow-Paced and Emotional people (The Nurturers) people might be doctors, nurses, coaches, teachers, mentors, focusing on making others feel well. They may also be client managers, consolidating existing relationships and viewing the impact that has on the customer, or any other career that mostly involves emotion and stability;
  • Fast-Paced and Emotional people (The Passionates) are visionary people, optimistic and reckless. They may be CEOs, event organizers, HNWIs, or any other profession that mostly leverages emotion and achievement;

If you’re familiar with the RIASEC Assessment, there is some correlation with the dimensions of the assessment:

  • Emotion-oriented people usually have high Social/Enterprising dimensions;
  • Logic-oriented people usually have high Conventional/Investigative dimensions;
  • Achievement-oriented people usually have high Enterprising/Realistic dimensions;
  • Stability-oriented people usually have high Social/Conventional dimensions;

With this knowledge, the professionals I coach then tailor their communication to better leverage the other side’s personality. Each combination has specific language patterns or elements that draw them in.

Tailoring Communication to the Four Personality Types

This framework facilitates persuasion and influence, be it for managing your talent, raising capital, or any other purpose. Therefore, it’s interesting to understand how each type of personality reacts to specific messaging and communication:

  • Passionates people react to messages that focus on the big picture. Success cases, vivid pictures, optimism projections. They want to share a vision for the future;
  • Analysts people react to the details. They want to know everything to the deepest detail and do the due diligence. They focus on numbers, facts, processes. They react very well to breaking something down to its smallest components;
  • Dominants are focused on getting things done and winning. They want to waste no time and get to the point. They are short-term oriented and want to get quick wins right here and now. They react very well to being direct, focusing on the benefit for them and how it will help them surpass others;
  • Nurturers are focused on how others feel and their well-being, and they want to understand how you can help them, they can help you, and your negotiation or joint purpose can help others, possibly the whole world. They react well to statements of empathy, caring, talking about the long-term relationship;

In Practice: Executive Case Study

One of the executives I coach had a hard time making out different personalities. To him, all people sounded the same. We worked on getting him to listen attentively to subtle cues that indicate interests and patterns.

He determined that one of the people in his team was very ambitious, always focused on achieving. Fast-paced, in other words. Moreso, he focused primarly in the big picture and never in the details. Definitely Emotion-oriented. In short, he was a Dominant. This executive tailored his communication to focus on achievements and big picture stories, avoiding details and compassion with others. He was able to much more effectively give feedback and lead this person.

This communication tailoring can be a powerful support tool for Emotional Intelligence practices and for managing people in general.

Specific Verticals

The Four Perceived Personalities can be used for specific purposes for specific verticals:

Find more of our resources on the resources page, or specifically head to books, articles, reports and/or interviews.

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