Understanding DISC Culture

Understanding DISC Culture

DISC Assessments classifies peoples behavioral styles into four main categories: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientious. We all have the ability to display behaviors for all four categories in different situations. However, we all have a natural or preferred behavior style. It is important to understand our own behavior styles, but more importantly to recognize other peoples behavior styles. Once we can do this, we can reach and influence other people more effectively. In the fifth article, The Four Behavioral Styles: Fearswe gave an overview of the four different DISC behavioral styles FEARS. There is no “best” style. Each style has its unique goals and fears that motivates their behavior style. This article will discuss how to understand the DISC cultures. 1: Dominance – High “D” Style DISC - D Wired Two cultures, which have produced many Dominant Styles, are northern, industrialized Germany and South Africa. These examples are not meant to over-generalize or stereotype individual behavior; instead, they help us understand how cultures tend to socialize or group people into patterns of behavior which are more consistent with past customs and expectations. In this regard, it’s easier for us to understand the more natural Dominant Style behaviors. These have emerged as the expected norms or preferred behavioral patterns over the long, colorful histories of both Germany and South Africa. How often have you described people you know of German or South African background by the following behavioral descriptions of the Dominant Style temperament?
  • Take charge: naturally seek direct control and want to run things their way
  • Controlling: fear losing personal power or status
  • Competitive: want to win
  • Motivated to be #1: seek being first or “on top” whether other people approve or not
  • Task-focused: strive to get the job done, often less aware or oblivious to others’ feelings which may make them appear insensitive
  • “No nonsense”: view life in terms of overcoming the obstacles to their successful achievement of desired results
  • Strong-willed: once they make up their minds, preferring to stick to their ideas; even becoming headstrong, especially under stress
  • Impatient: expect other people to help them get results, ASAP!!!
  • Fast-paced: often somewhat involved with many projects simultaneously; may even exhibit “workaholism” tendencies

2: Influence – High “I” Style

DISC I Style Every country, culture, and sub-culture socializes their society’s members into typical daily patterns of behavior. In this respect, both Ireland and Italy are often mentioned as settings where the Interactive Style seems quite commonplace. Globally, people refer to them as highly emotional people who tend to “wear their hearts on their sleeves.” The Irish are known for their animated, interactive storytelling and neighborhood socializing. In fact, these immigrants with similar lifestyles have settled many areas of the Northeastern United States as Irish-Italian communities. Italians’ Interactive Styles’ attributes have made them world-famous in the performing arts, restaurant and hospitality fields, and other person-to-person areas such as fashion and sales. How often have you described a native Irishman or Italian you have met by the following general description of the Interactive Style tendencies?
  • Optimistic: prefer to view life’s positives; often block out negative situations, facts, and concerns
  • Fast-paced: talk, move, and do most activities rather quickly
  • Emotional: readily show their own feelings and respond to others’ feelings
  • Approval-seeking: look to others for acceptance and re-energizing; want people to approve of and like each other, too
  • Fun-loving: seek an upbeat, positive, casual atmosphere and love a good party, especially with friends
  • Excitable: show emotions and become enthusiastic, at best; rattled, at worst – when pressured or tired
  • Spontaneous: behave impulsively; dislike planning or dealing with follow-through details
  • Expressive: at times, they may forget and divulge secret information; or they may say too much to the wrong people

3: Steadiness – High “S” Style

DISC S Style Two Steady Style countries that seem to have emphasized this lifestyle as a cultural norm resulting in a disproportionate number of such individual styles are Poland and Spain. Both cultures have historically found ways to get along with foreign elements while methodically plodding forward in the direction expected, even though others have often dictated that direction in the short run. The Polish people are world famous for their friendly, hard-working perseverance despite the obstacles that may confront them. And, the Spanish people (those beloved Latins) make others feel at home while practicing such distinctive customs as their renowned midday siestas. Taking siestas actually allows them to go home to their families during the workday. This is consistent with the preferred slower lifestyle of this temperament, without disrupting the differing customs of guests in their homeland. Citizens of both countries are known in their native lands and in the United States for their neighborhood restaurants and extensive group social activities. Compare the following distinguishing characteristics of the Steady Style which describe people you know who’ve been influenced directly by their own ethnic, social group, or cultural roots:
  • Easygoing: calm, measured, low-key behavior and outlook
  • Slower paced: wait until they know the steps or guidelines before acting, then move forward in a pre-set manner
  • Patient: tend to define themselves by their desire for stable relationships with others; often view problems or concerns as workable
  • Predictable: favor routine and stable conditions and practices
  • Persevering: likely to stick to a project for longer periods of time or at least until the concrete results have been produced
  • Modest: less likely to “blow their own horns”, but are often appreciative when others sincerely acknowledge their contributions
  • Accommodating: like to get along with others through predictable role relationships
  • Neighborly: prefer friendly, pleasant, helpful working relationships

4: Conscientious – High “C” Style

DISC C Style Under adverse political and geographic conditions, two Compliant Style countries have historically figured out creative, intuitive ways to survive. Both Sweden and Switzerland have harsh winter climates, but they’ve mastered the art of survival. Switzerland, especially, boasts a substantial corner on the market of world finance. For a small country, it controls a disproportionate amount of the world’s money. And Sweden, long known as a land that appreciates beauty, continues to have a worldwide impact in exporting its aesthetic talents, products, and services resulting from cultivated efforts. Whether watching a professional tennis match or beauty contest, we frequently see a representative from sparsely populated Sweden in the running for top honors. And, whether shopping for distinctive items – such as Scandinavian sweaters, needlework, furniture, crafts or other unique objects – or tasty and eye-catching bakery goods, the artistic flair of the Swedish heritage has universal appeal. Which of the following Compliant Style characteristics listed below match individuals you know with cultural roots similar to those DISCussed above?
  • Careful: methodical and cautious; don’t jump into things initially
  • Precise: need to be accurate, so they check and recheck in their effort to find the right or best available answer
  • Proper: more formal, DISCreet, and inclined to allow others to be in their own space, expecting the same for themselves
  • Private: keep thoughts to themselves; do not willingly DISClose their own or others’ thoughts and feelings
  • Reserved: somewhat formal and cool; take time to get to know them–they have few close relationships
  • Logical: process-oriented seekers of reason
  • Inventive: like to see things in new or unique ways; often have a unique perspective that includes or addresses both themselves and others
  • Contemplative: introverted and reflective, they ponder both the “why” and “how” elements in situations

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