M&M say that behaviors are patterns. To that end, here’s a synopsis of the behaviors of someone and I’ve got a gut feeling about which of the DISC traits would be considered the dominant one but there are so many competing things that I’m interested in your take on what you think the dominant trait might be.

I understand that this is a tiny sliver of a snapshot and I’m almost certain it’s jaded by my own bias to some degree or another. (I know I’m a high D: 7-2-1-5) Before I attempt to rescue a relationship which has gone sour by adjusting my approach to her, I want to make as sure as I can that I’ve correctly read the situation.

  • Likes to talk about herself and her kid
  • Likes to talk about other people – inside and outside the company, not always in a flattering way
  • Likes to be the center of attention
  • Very low tolerance for mistakes
  • Repeatedly says “I remember everything” and then doesn’t or misremembers
  • Resists relinquishing control
  • Competitive
  • Makes inconsistent decisions (Situation 1: do A; Situation 2: do B; Situation 3: Do A; Situation 4: do C)
  • Poor time manager (working 10-20 hours per day)
  • Tells rather than Asks
  • Controller/Inspector
  • If it costs more, it must be better / don’t ‘cheap-out’ on anything
  • Doesn’t labor on details when presenting but insists on details when someone has slipped-up
  • Perfectionist, meticulous, resistant to change, impatient, decisive, not terribly empathetic
  • “Get it done, get it done right this instant and get it done absolutely perfectly”
  • Not very communicative, doesn't provide feedback; when feedback is specificallyrequested, it is dismissed and postponed to a future time that never materializes

If I have any chance at saving this relationship, I want to make sure that the adjustments I make are going to help it rather than make things worse - and I'm not generally the best at reading people because I'm too focused on results. I don't want to say "this is her DISC type so these are the fourteen things I'm going to do" and then devote daily energy to those fourteen things only to find out three or six months later when I put my head up to check for results that the relationship has acutally gotten worse!


And if it's really as simple as the banana peel test - - I think I know my answer more readily: she's an "I"  - because that banana peel story would be told individually at least ten times during the work day and then three more times during the week and then at least quarterly thereafter for a decade.

ssentes's picture
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Based on the behaviors you describe I would guess her communication style is DI, D being the more dominant of the two. D's and I's both see themselves as more powerful in relation to their environment, thus we call them assertive. They are both comfortable coming into new environments and taking control of the situation. Where the two differ is on the way they see the environment around them. D's see the environment as unfavorable, these people are more task focussed. Whereas the I's while see the environment around them as favorable, instead they are people focussed.

Considering your dominant style is a D, her being a high D could be why the two of you seem to be butting heads on things. D's like to take action, get results and solve problems. Unfortunately D's sometimes come across as insensitive and intimidating because we get results at the expense of others. 

The High I behaviors that I can see are that she likes to talk about herself and her family and likes to be the center of attention. Sharing personal details is an I trait.

High D behaviors fall into the majority of all the other behaviors you see. D's like to be right. As D's we can often take it too far and feel that in order to prove our point we must point out why the other person is wrong. This is where you are seeing the competitive nature come into play. D's have a low tolerance for others mistakes as they can tend to think that their way is not only the right way, its the only way.  Because of this D's are quick to point out where others went wrong. A D can often be seen resisting giving up control, a common phrase being "I'll just do it myself, I know it will be done correctly that way". D's are task focussed rather than people focussed. When they see a situation that calls for leadership they will step up, take charge and tell others what to do (rather than ask). For a D, communication is a waste of time, "the more time we spend talking about the work, the less time we spend actually doing the work". Perfectionist, meticulous, resistant to change, impatient, decisive, and not terribly empathetic; are perfect words to describe a D.

Both D's and I's can be seen are repeatedly saying that they remember everything and then not correctly remembering. Both D's and I's are distracted. Both try to do many things and don't pay a huge amount of attention to detail. And both make inconsistent decisions.

On top of all of this you need to remeber people have their own personalities. DISC says nothing about the personality, it is only about the communication behaviors that one engages in. There is always a veil of the person themselves on top.

Hopefully this helps!

Sarah Sentes - Manager Tools Presenting Associate



Kevin1's picture

Hi Ash,

How do they fair in other tell tale signs?

  • Do they talk fast or slow?  Loud or soft?  About facts and figures or about people?  Data or stories?
  • Do they smile a lot or a little?
  • Do they use big guestures or small?
  • Do they interrupt?
  • Do they make a lot of eye contact or less?
  • Do they exaggerate?  
  • Do they use names in emails to begin or close or not?  Emoticons or not?
  • How long before they get to the point?  Are they direct or chatty?

Kind regards


ashdenver's picture

Kevin, I'd say fast, loud, talks about people, tells stories, little smiling, small gestures, interrupting, lots of eye contact, yes to exaggeration, no names in emails, never any emoticons, chatty when telling a story / direct when listening to someone else.  While it has all become a moot point, I'm still interested in your take given the additional trait summary.

Kevin1's picture

sorry for the slow response. Wow. They have some contradictory behaviours. I'd suggest a high-D high-I combination.