Interpretation of DiSC Results – Andrea (D Style)

At its core, the DiSC® model is designed to be simple to understand and easy to remember. The respondent needs to be able to leave a DiSC experience with clear, simple principles that can be understood and applied in the real world. However, every model and assessment tool is only a simplification of real life. Real life and real people are always much more colorful and diverse, therefore, interpreting anyone’s DiSC results is always a process best done together with the learner.

That is why we now present the first of our 4 hypothetical case studies designed to:

  • illustrate the relationship between profile results and real-life behavior
  • model the appropriate interpretation of profile results

Note that these cases include specific characteristics that should not necessarily be generalized to every person sharing a particular style. In this particular case, for instance, Andrea, who has a D style, is defensive and arrogant about receiving feedback. This should not be taken to mean that every person with a D style is defensive and arrogant in response to receiving feedback. This is simply one possible manifestation of that DiSC style.

The case study presented here includes the individual’s Everything DiSC map, but also an umbrella graph that shows the person’s scores on the eight DiSC scales and can give a practitioner additional insight into the respondent’s DiSC style. These umbrella graphs are not included in the respondent’s Everything DiSC profile but are available in the Everything DiSC Supplement for Facilitators.


Andrea: D Style

Andrea is a 31-year-old medical device salesperson. Over the past eight quarters, she has consistently been among the top five salespeople in her division. She is seemingly fearless when it comes to initiating contact with potential clients and pushing for their business, even in the face of repeated rejection. She particularly enjoys the part of her job that involves charming and persuading others. Some clients, however, have reported that her approach feels manipulative and insincere, and have asked to switch to other representatives from her company. The leadership at her organization has shown concern that her aggressive tactics may be hurting the company’s brand in its tight-knit industry. Her response to this feedback has been perceived as defensive and, to some degree, cocky.

Ultimately, however, her history of results has allowed her to get away with some behaviors that might not be tolerated in others.

The assessment suggests that Andrea has a D style with an extra priority in Enthusiasm and a strong inclination toward her style (see Figure 8.4). Further, the umbrella graph indicates that her pattern of scores on the DiSC scales is as expected for someone with her dot placement and shading (see Figure 8.5). That is, she scored high on the D, CD, Di, and i scales and low on the S, CS, and C scales. This profile is associated with people who are bold, forceful, and enterprising. Her level of drive is typical for people with this style and, given her current level of immaturity, much of her self-worth may be wrapped up in her ability to achieve results. At her current stage of development, she has an exaggerated sense of her own rights, particularly relative to the rights of others. Likewise, she often only shows interest in the emotional experience of other people to the degree that it will help her achieve her goals.

The aspects of her behavior and personality that are entrepreneurial and charismatic are reflected in the extra priority of Enthusiasm. The D style is typically associated with more forceful persuasion tactics, whereas Andrea’s atypical results suggest that she is also accustomed to smooth-talking and charming others. Her approach is still heavy-handed, though, and consequently, she can come across as manipulative in her relationships.

It is important to note that Andrea represents an immature example of the D style. Her arrogance and insensitivity are characteristic of people with the D style who also have a low level of ego integration and self-realization. The Everything DiSC assessment, however, does not measure psychological maturity or emotional intelligence. This is to say, by simply looking at her dot placement and shading, we would not know how healthy or adaptive Andrea’s unique manifestation of the D style is. We would, however, expect to see a predictable pattern of priorities, tendencies, and preferences (e.g., forcefulness, directness).

What else do you read out from her DiSC result? What would you like to ask Andrea if you would be her coach/trainer/manager?


Reference: Everything DiSC Manual (Scullard, Baum 2015)

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