All of them.
Let us explain: DISC assessments categorise people into four types, each of which has its own unique strengths and limitations in a leadership setting.
The results of a DISC assessment have no impact on whether a person is a good leader or not. Instead, DISC allows us to better understand the unique strengths and opportunities for each personality in the workplace.
Here’s a breakdown of how each DISC personality profile acts as a leader and how they can reach their full potential.
DISC is one of the world’s most popular forms of psychometric testing. More than a million people take a DISC assessment each year to find out their personality type. The four main personality types in DISC are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance, although some people might be a mix of two.
Dominance styles as leaders
Ambitious and highly motivated, people with the Dominance or D personality type often consider themselves to be natural-born leaders. They love looking at the big picture, making decisions, and don’t mind taking risks if they think the payoff will be worth it. Independent-minded, they shape the environment to their will and can be competitive or even confrontational.
D types are confident leaders — they feel like they were born for leadership, after all! Decisive and independent, they love making quick decisions which can be a real strength in a leadership role. Their attention to the big picture makes them valuable players in an organisation because they are able to think bigger and relate everything back to overall business goals.
Delegation is another strength of D style leaders. People with this personality type love delegating tasks in order to get things done as effectively as possible, especially if those tasks are detail-oriented rather than the big picture stuff.
Moreover, people with the Dominance profile are comfortable with change and are happy to throw the status quo out the window if they think this will lead to great results. Consequently, they’re proactive leaders that are constantly innovating in order to gain success for the team.
However, like all DISC profiles, a D leadership style can have its limitations. Dominance types are often independent minded and extremely focused on their goals, which can make it hard for them to listen to other team members’ ideas and perspectives. Their faster-paced nature and desire for success might even make them appear impatient with other personality types who don’t share their enthusiasm for big changes or risks.
Therefore, improving their people skills is a key opportunity for leaders with the Dominance personality. Their competitive and demanding nature may sometimes risk alienating or demotivating their team, so it’s important that D styles work on their ability to slow down the pace, listen to their team’s opinions or concerns, and demonstrate gratitude for their contributions.
Another opportunity for D types to enhance their leadership style is by improving their attention to detail. With so many decisions to make and goals to achieve, D types may find that their focus on the big picture sometimes comes at the expense of their attention to detail. To really shine in a leadership setting, people with the Dominance DISC profile should practise paying attention to the smaller details and consequences of decisions.
Influence styles as leaders
Friendly, enthusiastic, and energetic, people with the Influence personality make excellent leaders. They are extremely people-focused — I styles are the people who are always chatting and making sure everyone is involved because they love being the centre of attention. Social butterflies through and through, Influence types have a completely different leadership style to D types, but their leadership can be equally productive.
People and communication skills are the greatest strengths of leaders with the Influence DISC profile. Charismatic, energetic, and persuasive, these individuals are great at bringing teams together and motivating them to perform their best.
Moreover, I types make great leaders because of their natural optimism and their ability to make their team members believe that anything is possible. Sometimes they are dreamers but this can be a good thing because it motivates the whole team to shoot for the stars.
In a team led by an I personality type, people are likely to feel welcomed and included. People love to be around I types and this can be beneficial for team cohesion, patching over disagreements and conflicts.
There are also some limitations of this personality profile in a leadership position, including I types’ dislike of confrontation which can lead to necessary, healthy conflict being stifled. Moreover, I types in a leadership position might struggle to address issues within the team out of fear that this will damage their relationship with team members.
Because I styles thrive off positive attention and social interactions, they might struggle to work independently or on tasks that leave them bored or unstimulated, resulting in important tasks going unfinished. Their optimism and tendency to generalise may also lead to problems when they are in a leadership role. Therefore, I types in leadership roles may need to work on their objectivity, attention to detail, and focus in order to thrive as leaders.
Steadiness types as leaders
Calm, patient, and trustworthy, people with the Steadiness personality are reliable and team-oriented leaders. People with this personality are calm and thorough, planning out tasks and following through and thriving in settings with a regular routine. Sometimes they can be quiet but when you get to know them they are loyal and dependable team members.
A leader with the Steadiness profile is a thorough and stable leader who can lead a team calmly and patiently through any situation. They value teamwork highly, making them collaborative and democratic in their leadership style. S styles also highly value routine — they prefer a slower-paced work style and will seek to create this sort of harmonious workplace environment for everyone.
Some of the traits that make S types great leaders include their ability to listen to others and provide support, their patience, and their easy-going nature. They care deeply about the well-being of their team members and are careful to mediate conflict when it arises. These aspects of their personality make them popular among their team members.
Like any other of the DISC types, Steadiness personalities also have some limitations to their leadership style. For example, S DISC profiles might struggle with assertiveness, being reluctant to speak up or disagree with coworkers. As a result, they might struggle to direct their team the right way or might suffer in silence when things don’t go to plan.
Another challenge that S style leaders might need to overcome is their reliance on routine and stability. While a harmonious workplace is ideal for S types, their dislike of change can lead to stagnation or a lack of creativity within their team. To shine as leaders, S types need to learn to let go of their comfort zone and act decisively, take risks, and try new ways of working to achieve the best results.
Compliance types as leaders
C types are analytical, methodical, and calculating, preferring to gather as much information as possible before making decisions or taking risks. Creative and focused, they will often look at a problem from many angles and come up with detailed solutions. People with the Compliance personality profile can often be independent, just like D types, but they prefer to focus on the details and procedures rather than the big picture.
While C types may not think of themselves as natural-born leaders, many traits of this DISC type make them excellent leaders. Data-driven and detail-oriented, nothing slips past these team leaders who can often be found carefully researching and planning action, meeting deadlines, and ensuring that projects are delivered to perfection.
By asking a lot of questions and considering tasks from multiple angles, C style leaders are good at creating plans to make sure every member of the team is on track. They demand a lot from their team which can lead to high performance and impressive results.
Like any other DISC personality profile, people with the Compliance personality have some key limitations that they may need to overcome to unlock their full potential as a leader. Firstly, C profiles might struggle with perfectionism, making their team feel pressured and criticised when they deliver anything except perfection. This might alienate and demotivate team members who feel that they struggle to achieve work to the hyper-critical C type’s high standards. Compliance personalities need to work on their perfectionism and ensure that they are giving their team the recognition and support they need to keep them feeling supported and valued.
Moreover, C types may struggle with quick decision-making, preferring to spend a long time researching, analysing, and coming up with various plans. In a leadership position, difficulty with decision-making can hold back the whole team, so it’s important that C types learn to act more decisively with the data they already have.
Enhancing leadership with DISC
While no one personality type is better than the others in a leadership position, every personality has its own unique strengths and challenges that contribute to a person’s leadership style. Understanding your behavioural style and recognising your opportunities for growth allows individuals to unlock their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Interested in learning more about how DISC can enhance leadership for you or your team? Why not use our DISC Flow® LEADER Report? This DISC assessment focuses on leadership approaches and provides key insights to help unlock the power of your people.