Have you ever attempted to comprehend someone else’s behavior when they act in a way you would never do? People can be perplexing to understand and frustrating to interact with and talk to. In an attempt to be more understanding of each other, people throughout history have come up with theories about personality, models and assessments to clarify the reasons and methods people behave the way they do.

In school, at the workplace, or even on social media, you’ve have seen personality profiles. The most popular ones include The Myer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), DISC assessment, Enneagram and the Big Five.

These tests are great tools to learn more about your personal style and preferences, as well as how you respond under pressure, and how you interact with other people. Nowadays, more and more companies use tests of personality in the workplace. Dori Meinert at SHRM. Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) has found that 60% of employees are now required to take workplace assessments, with companies employing these tests for hiring and career advancement.

In this guide we will discuss what personality assessments are and specifically how DISC profiles work. We will also give ideas on how you can incorporate the DISC profiles into team building.


What personality tests are
What the DISC personality assessment is
What can we do with the 4 DISC personality types as a team building exercise
Tips for organizing team building activities utilizing the DISC profiles

Introduction to Personality Tests

According to The Institute of Psychometric Coaching, personality tests aim to measure your personality and behavior by allowing you to self-report your answers. The questions are usually obscure (i.e. it’s not clear that you have read the question to know what the response measures), and then, your answers form a personality profile. There aren’t any right or wrong solutions test of personality. Your answers will provide the potential for how you’ll respond in different situations.

There are more than 30 personality tests on Wikipedia. Each test measures different aspects and gives different results. For instance it is the Holland Codes (RIASEC) test aims to match personality types and job positions, whereas tests like the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) examines 16 personality traits in five dimensions. It provides a portrait of a person’s temperament.

What is the purpose of taking a personality test? From an individual’s point an individual’s perspective, a personality test will make you think about your own… what you tend to behave and what your personal preferences are also how well you communicate with other people around you. It’s an opportunity to find out more about the traits that define you.

If you’re using a valid and reliable method, the results of a personality profile often immediately resonate with the person and cause them to think, “Yes, that’s me!” But no matter how the person’s responses to the findings, the personality profile report can be useful because it gives details of the person’s motives as well as their fears, strengths, and challenges, which leads to self-reflection and development.

From an organizational point of view, personality assessments will provide an organization with additional details on prospective employees and new hires. In cases where collaboration and teamwork are crucial to succeed, understanding each employee’s natural tendencies can assist in defining roles team formation, project assignments, and hiring. The personality styles can also be used to create an atmosphere that is fun and productive.

There are a variety of reasons personality profiles are so popular in the workplace. They can be used to:

Let people know their potential strengths and the weaknesses of an individual.
Utilize the opportunity to draw out the strengths of an individual and eliminate blind spots within teams.
Help assess a candidate’s suitability for a role
Help determine if a candidate will fit into the culture of the company.
Be used by leaders and managers to coach the team members of their employees.

It is the DISC Personality Assessment

A popular and widely popular personality tests used by the business world are that of the DISC assessment. The underlying concept of the test can be traced in the time of American psychologist William Moulton Marston.

The 1920s were when Marston created a model about our emotional reactions to different stimuli. The theory was developed into the concept of a four-dimensional model that was anchored with 4 emotions: Dominance Influence, Submission, and Compliance. Marston’s model was further refined by Dr. John Geier in the 1970s when he created the DISC Personal Profile System. Over time, the words that are behind the letters D-I S-C were changed to words such as Dominant, interactive or influencing, supportive Steady and Conscientious or Compliant.

Typically typically, a DISC profile is constructed using the questionnaire that has between 24 to 28 questions. In each of the questions, the individual is given four words and must choose one which describes them best and one that describes them most.

Once the questionnaire is completed Once the questionnaire is finished, a graph is drawn that shows the individual’s overall DISC pattern. The idea behind DISC personality styles is that we are just not a single type, but a mix of the four dimensions. In reality, the majority of people have a style they prefer – a dimension that is most natural to them. This style is natural and easy to display. Styles that are lower on the graph use longer to display.

Most often, a DISC test will produce three graphs for an person. The first graph is “the disguise,” which is the public persona that people view. The second graph represents “the inner core” that shows how an individual responds naturally to pressure and stress. The third is “the mirror” which shows how the individual perceives their own behavior. The graphs can be quite identical or completely different dependent on the individual.

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What do the four dimensions mean? In order to make the styles easier to comprehend and remember, Merrick Rosenberg, the CEO of Take Flight Learning, came up with a fresh way to explain the DISC patterns in his publication The Chameleon: Life-Changing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has A Personality or Knows Someone who does. In the book, he presented an engaging and memorable way to relate to the DISC patterns to 4 birds.

“D” refers to Dominant and is represented with an Eagle. They are courageous, decisive, direct, and driven.
“I” refers to Interactive and is represented by a parrot. Parrots are imaginative, influential as well as intuitive and inspirational.
“S” is for”Supportive” and is represented by the shape of a Dove. Doves are steadfast, sincere and tolerant. They are also happy.
“C” is a reference to Conscientious and is represented as an Owl. They are thoughtful as well as critical, clear, and consistently.

Rosenberg invented the DISC styles by using the four birds, providing an easier to remember, more visual method of getting people engaged with the DISC system. The matching of each dimension to the bird’s specific species corresponds to our understandings of how the birds generally behave, which makes it easier to keep the information in mind through associative learning.

In the workplace, the DISC styles are used in a variety of ways. They are used for recruitment, deployment of staff for career development, and team building.

Using DISC Personality Profiles for Team Building

Collaboration and teamwork basically are based on how members interact with one another and how they adapt to various personalities and how they function as a group. What can the DISC system aid teams in performing on a greater level?

A team that is highly productive can be described as one with varied in its capabilities, yet united in their intention to achieve the same objectives. Effectively working as a team is about managing the relationships among members of the team in a manner that encourages the team to move forward. The DISC styles provide a framework for understanding the desires and motivations of each member of the team.

Jede DISC dimension has a unique function to perform in a team structure. Also, it is about being balanced. Imagine a team that is populated by dominant Eagles. It could result in a leadership struggle because every Eagle is trying to assert his supremacy over others! On the other hand it is likely that a group of Conscientious Owls is too risk-averse, too by-the-book and would have difficulty transitioning from planning to actual action.

Each team has a different role or goal as well as DISC can help your team become more efficient. If you’re starting an entirely new team, the DISC styles can help ensure that you have the optimal mix of Eagles as well as Parrots Doves and Owls, so that the team can be successful.

For teams with existing teams, understanding the preferences of each member’s DISC preference makes everyone aware of each other’s styles. This awareness allows for people to be able to understand each other. If your team seems trapped in the “storming” phase, you can use the DISC styles to interact with your team members more efficiently. Once you know their preferences for DISC style (or what bird they’re) you will be able to better relate to them, appreciate their strengths, and appreciate what they can bring to the team, and also be better equipped to help their grow professionally.

Tips for delivering team building activities using DISC

One of the first steps, naturally, is to get the members of your group to take a DISC assessment. There are many websites that provide the test (some even offer it for free! ), but if you are working on a team building budget and would like to utilize an accurate and statistically reliable test, you may want to consider an assessment like the Taking Flight with DISC assessment and training program. The program will help your team learning about themselves, each other and how best to cooperate to achieve team goals. The program utilizes the four Birds that you may remember — Eagle, Parrot, Dove and Owl? — to ensure that the session is not just entertaining, but memorable.

A key element of a team building session that uses DISC involves the facilitation process. The DISC system provides a framework that allows for an unrestricted DISCussion about the personalities and dynamics within the group. This requires a competent facilitator, who can ensure that everyone takes part in the conversation, and asks challenging questions to help deepen the discussion and more.

If you conduct a DISC-related group building exercise, be sure to keep a lookout for how people are responding to the activity. The activities for building teams generally, can be quite stressful for some personality types and most people tend to stay in silence instead of discussing their feelings. They are usually the Conscientious Owls and Supportive Doves.

If you have a person who seems to be uneasy or irritable with participate, you could have the possibility of asking them to be “observers” rather than participants. Their job is to watch the event and discuss their observations with the group at the conclusion of the event. This is a great opportunity to engage people in team-building without taking part in the event. It also gives participants more control.