I've been listening to a lot fo the podcasts relating to DiSC, as well as the effective relationship podcasts. relating to my type (High C, High D), as well as discussing this topic with my team.

One thing that I can't shake yet, is the feeling that even though it is mentioned numerous times that none of the type is better or worse than the other, in reality, most people I know do think that certain types are better than others for certain positions.

Let's take a marketing manager position. I'd love to be able to say and feel that all types are equally suited for this position, just in different ways. However, it seems to me that the general consensus, at least from the people around me, is that a high I, in combination with D is the one to look for.

Why ? Because this position requires big picture thinking and creativity, and Ds and Is are well suited for this type of job. And who would do all the detail stuff that needs to be done ? Oh we just need to hire a bunch of Cs, and they'll execute the plan.

Now, being a high C myself, I cringe when I hear this. Are High Cs just a bunch of executors that should just follow big directions from the high Is ? Would it be a disaster if the boss is a High C and the directs are High Is ?

How about the High Ss?  High Ss are never mentioned as being suitable in any position other than in HR, as counselors. I'm sure the High Ss don't think of themselves in this way.

I'm curious to hear the experiences of others in this forum, i.e. whether high Ds and high Is really dominate the marketing manager(and above) positions, and that the other types are less effective in this position ?






E75's picture

Hi Dienwick,

Excellent question. The way I understand DISC is that it predicts how we tend to behave by default, when we are not paying attention to how we behave. In other words your DISC profile isn't a sentence convicting you to a set of behaviors for the rest of your life. Quite the contrary in fact: I find it is a useful tool in rising awareness about behavior (your own and that of others), which in turn makes it possible to make conscious choices about how to go about in a particular situation.

Diversity is good here too. If you were all high I's you'd have the best most awesome über cool project kickstart party slash brainstorm ever - and burn the whole year's budget on it. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating but only a little bit.

In my opinion it's a question of putting one's strengths to work while making sure one's weaknesses are somehow adequately dealt with  - with the help of other people, or just sheer willpower to cringe through that pesky boring life-sucking budget spreadsheet (third this month).

- E75 (6326)

krisld's picture

I know a High S manager who is exceptional because she truly understands the needs and motivations of her team and rallies people around the cause. I'm a High C marketing director (take that stereotypes!) and I think my "C"-ness serves me well as I'm good at analyzing the numbers and ensuring our marketing programs are well-orchestrated, on time and ROI-focused.

In either case, I think past successes are the best predictors of future successes, which is why interviewing is so critical. DISC may help explain why a person has been successful in certain roles. There will be candidates, though, that shine regardless of DISC orientation.

And truly, the most successful in any role seem to be the ones that learn to adapt to other styles. 





naraa's picture

 I have worked with a high I manager in the commercial-marketing area and he was not effective.  He had ideas, but couldn´t get them executed.  Also he was over optimistic and excited about everything, we always felt we had all these projects already won, and the negotiations with the client were really at very early and not confirmed states.

I have worked with a high S manager leading a service group (and selling engineering projects) and he is brilliant on getting people from different backgrounds to work together and understanding clients needs.

I have worked with a high D engineering manager and he was a disaster.  A very capable guy, who got his people up the first hill and then had half the tip with him to climb the second one!

I have worked with a high C as an engineering manager and he was very good.  He needed manager-tools to help him delegate more so he wouldn´t get so over worked and stressed out, but he could get people to do the work, understand the big picture, and also relate well with clients.

Now, a high C boss with all high I directs might be a bit difficult.  

What I have found works well is when there is some balance among the team, people that can cross styles (not necessarily everyone, but some that work as the bridge from people from different styles) and a manager who enhances communication and collaborative behaviour even upon his/her absence.  One of the best teams I have seen working together was a high S boss, a high I-high D direct who was his right hand, two programers, one high D-high C, one high C, three engineers: high C-high D, high C, and one high I.





duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

As E75 said, DISC is only a predictor of your behaviour when you're not conciously thinking about how you behave.  And even then, people have various mixes of styles in their profile.

For example, before I knew about DISC, I was shocked to learn that a former CEO of ours was extremely introverted because he certainly didn't behave that way in a professional capacity.   It was explained to me that he had simply learned strategies to compensate for his shyness.  

Practicing strategies to modify our behaviour is something all of us can do - and therefore it is possible for any DISC type to be effective in any professional capacity.  


dienkwik's picture

 Thanks for all the replies.


@E75: Yup, we can always choose to act in any styles if we realize that we are in situations that requires a different style than our natural tendencies, and as you and others have said, this is key to being an effective manager. I suppose even the high Ds and High Is in that same position also need to adapt their styles from time to time.

@KRISLD: Great !! A real live high C in a top level marketing position -> Proof that the general consensus, is not 100% correct after all :)  I'm curious though if you think it was a more difficult path for you ? Would you mind sharing 1 or 2 things that you think contributed to your success as a High C in a position generally thought of belonging to the high Is, and high Ds.

@NARAA: One of the best teams managed by a high S! That's truly great to hear.  The team sounds like it was engineered to be balanced. I suppose with this DISC knowledge, that is what managers have to do: Create a good balance of styles of in their team.

@MARKMT: Your comment made me realize that practicing strategies to modify our behaviors has to be done by all types if they want to be effective, so even with a high D high I in a position supposedly suited for them, they still need to adapt their styles in different situations, just like the high Cs or high Ss.



naraa's picture

 Dienkwik, congratulations on the best thanks for the replies on a posted questions I have ever seen on these forums!  In general one contributes not expecting anything in return! (Or perhaps one has learned to because it rarely comes!).  It  is absolutely great to hear when people care enough to even personalized the responses and take the time to share back with those that care to share their opinion, knowledge and experience.  I am sure you are one of the greatest managers!

The business world would be a better place if we all raised our high S's characteristics a bit! (That is a high D comment!)



Disc 7721!

DRD282's picture

I have actually been thinking about this a lot as well, as I've been listening to the DISC podcasts (not the Effective Communications yet, just the free ones). And I agree...the podcasts come off pretty rough on S's. The "grandmothers" and "Mr. Rogers" of the DISC profile. I think in part this is because Mark and Mike are self-admittedly High D / High I and High C / High I respectively. I have listened and thought "really, what is the value that an S brings to the group."

I just had a great meeting yesterday. A High I / High C individual and a High D individual were at an impasse on a project that they were working on. Our founder/CEO, who is also a High S, and I sat in with them to get it resolved. And I think that was where our High S tendencies really shined. Our CEO was amazingly adept at diffusing the situation, pulling out exactly what each person what *trying* to say, rather than what they *were* saying, and just generally helping facilitate communication. And in my role, thanks in large part to MT teachings, I was able to really peel away the layers of conflict and get down to the root. Ultimately, it came down to *very* different behavioral profiles and communications styles. And helping them understand the Drucker quote that has practically become the MT mantra: "Communication is what the listener does." 

My point is, that without 2 High S's in the room, the problem would have probably been "solved," as in a band-aid solutions for this specific issue would have been found. But adding us in to the meeting, we were able to get more to the root of the problem. This is actually not the first high-emotion, potentially contentions meeting that either of us has diffused, either. It's a fairly regular occurrence when working with a *lot* of High Ds and High Cs. 

So I have in part found my own answers to my question. I have also found that, as a manager, it is very much in my best interests to hire High Ds, High Is, and High Cs even though sometimes it can feel like bull riding more than managing. Because if I build a relationship with those people, then get out of their way (i.e. don't fret about "over-burdening them" as is a common High S manager flaw), they get stuff done in a real serious way. And I end up in a position where I am able to leverage my strengths (motivating, steering them, helping troubleshoot/remove obstacles, and helping them understand the politics and personalities of the people in other departments that they need to work with so they can be more effective) to help them do even *better* work. 

So I have come to really believe that a High S manager can be very effective as a manager. The recent "hiring overqualifieds" casts have been great, too. As a High S, I'm really not worried about someone "overshadowing me" (if my team looks good, I look good, and I'm more than happy to give them the credit when they've earned it) and I'm very comfortable with my ability to build relationships and loyalty. So I feel very comfortable hiring people that other behavioral profiles might feel threatened by or might not be able to handle. 

I would love to hear other High S managers thoughts about how they effectively utilize their strengths as a manager.








krisld's picture

Hi Dienkwik:

So glad my note was helpful! I think what Nara said is important... The key is being able to cross styles when necessary. I think I turned my analytical approach towards how to be effective politically and as a leader -- hence my Manager Tools time. That said, that high S manager and I had to work on our communication styles to work effectively together. I understand that my communication can be too task-focused or abrupt at times for some people, and being cognizant of that has helped me to see when I have smoothing over to do or need to approach something differently.





dienkwik's picture

 @NARAA: Thanks for the generous compliment :)

@DRD282: "Grandmother" and "Mr. Rogers" :)  I also chuckle when I hear the portrayal of C's as "Ready...Aim...Aim...Aim...Aim....", and wonder how I get to this point without firing. Like others have said, though, as we go throughh life, we all work around or reduce our weaknesses, and nobody is ever really like the stereotypes described.

@KRISLD: Good Points - Using analytical strength to find solutions for our shortcomings, and realizing when we are too task focused and smooth things over.

naraa's picture


I am a high D, high I, so I cannot talk about myself, but I can share with you a story about a high S´s manager:

When I left the last company I was at, I was offered a farewell dinner by a high S manager and his group.  Towards the end of the dinner, he gave thanks to me and share details of how my contribution and work style had helped grow the group and the quality of the work performed.  Then each one at the dinner (10 people) shared very specific situations and perceptions of how my work had impacted theirs.  I was very moved, because it was very personalised.  Only a high S manager could do that.  It was obvious the group had assimilated a technique he used on all his early mornings meeting: everybody had to share something important within the group, and felt valued for their sharing.  As a high D, high I manager, I may have achieved other things, but that sharing to value others and feeling valued for what one has shared is something I had not been able to achieve!