Home » Psychology » DiSC Personality Types Explained: D-Style vs I-Style vs S-Style vs C-Style

DiSC Personality Types Explained: D-Style vs I-Style vs S-Style vs C-Style

The DiSC personality assessment is one of the more widely known personality tests available. Like many, it splits people into four general types that share similar characteristics and inclinations. Every person is a blend of the four, but one will rise as the dominant personality type. In general, about 3% of people are classified as D’s, 11% are classified as I’s, 69% are classified as S’s, and 17% are classified as C’s.

Understanding your DiSC personality type can help you learn more about yourself and others, and can give you a boost when dealing with interpersonal challenges and opportunities in your social and professional relationships.

D-Style: The Dominant Personality

1. You Are a Natural Leader
D-style individuals love taking charge. When someone asks them a question, theirs is always the first hand to be raised. They naturally aspire to be in positions of authority, and they won’t take no for an answer.

They have an innate drive to be the best they can be, and often that can mean inspiring others to be at their best as well. They never shy away from extra work. Instead, they see it as an opportunity to prove themselves and are willing to put in hard work now for a payoff later.

2. You Are Confident
Those with a dominant D-style are naturally confident. They never need to be reassured of their worth or value. They know it, own it, and proclaim it to others. They know their strengths and will always play to them. Conversely, they are also aware of their weaknesses and may avoid circumstances that would expose them.

They always put their best foot forward in any circumstance, and never back down from a challenge. Their natural confidence is magnetic, and they tend to exude charisma that attracts others to them.

3. You Are Direct
D-style individuals never beat around the bush; they will always get right to the point. Sometimes this can seem rude or uncaring, but they simply see no need for certain social niceties. Rather than attempting to soften news or give a thorough background explanation, they would rather tell it like it is.

They see this as a service to others, giving them the facts first and not wasting time with interpretations that may or may not be accurate. This can be helpful in a business setting, but it can become a problem in personal relationships if they fail to account for the other person’s feelings.

4. You Are Goal-Oriented
Those with a D-style personality always have the end goal in sight. They were the children whose main goal was a college application, and they are the new employees who have their eye on the CEO’s desk. They do not waste time with activities that do not serve their larger goals; in their opinion, it would only slow them down and keep them from reaching those goals sooner.

They will make a plan that lets them most efficiently and successfully reach their goals, then stick to it faithfully. They never do anything “just for the fun of it” – everything has a purpose.

5. You Are Competitive
D-style people can’t stand coming in second place. If they didn’t win the trophy or the promotion, they see it as a failure. Their natural competitiveness won’t allow them to sit on their laurels; they will do whatever it takes to get ahead.

This means giving their all in every situation and usually means doubling down on practice or preparation if they want to improve their performance. Due to their desire for leadership and reaching their goals, victory is a natural aspiration. Sometimes this can mean leaving friends or coworkers behind if they feel that others slow them down. They can become blinded by the will to win and cast others aside at times.

6. You Are an Extrovert
D-style people love being the life of the party. They gain energy from having lots of people around them, and they can comfortably slide into any conversation or social setting. Individuals with a dominant D-style personality have never met a stranger, and use their natural self-confidence to their advantage.

They crave excitement and relationships and feel like something is missing when they are alone. This is not always a selfish tendency: they can also have a big heart for helping others, transferring their social nature into helping out at work or in the community.

7. You Like to Be in Control
The term “control freak” typically applies well to D-style individuals. Because they have a specific goal in mind for their work or activities, and because they are naturally confident in their own abilities, they can fall prey to doing everything themselves. They have very high standards, and if someone else’s work is not up to snuff, they will likely redo it on their own. They love having all the answers and being trusted to take care of important tasks.

I-Style: The Influencer Personality

1. You Are Highly Social
Those with a dominant I-style personality type are always in the middle of a party or social gathering. Their calendars are always full of appointments, meetings, get-togethers, and activities with friends. An open night with nothing to do drives them to leave the house and find a party to join.

This stems partly from a strong need to be the center of attention. They will always agree to a dare, and always have something to contribute to the conversation at hand. They want to be seen as the “fun friend” who is the life of the party.

2. You Influence Others to Follow You
I-style individuals are highly charismatic. They can inspire others by their words and actions, and can be viewed as natural leaders in this way. If you need to get everyone on board with a common vision and goal, get an I-style person to be your spokesperson. They can believably communicate any message and convince others that their way is the best way.

Experienced communicators with this personality type will also recognize that an opportunity for their influence on others is not complete when the project begins; they can work with and motivate others to see things through to the very end.

3. You Are Optimistic
I-style people always see the glass as half full. They do not allow themselves to be weighed down by a pessimistic or cynical viewpoint, and can always find something positive in any scenario. If circumstances do not go their way, they do not allow life to drag them down. They will instead pick themselves up and find another way around. They will automatically look to Plan B, C, or D if A does not pan out.

In relationships, this means that they will choose to see the best in others, even to their own detriment. This can cause them to trust more easily, but even a breach of trust may not cause lasting harm as they will still maintain their optimistic outlook.

4. You Are Enthusiastic
Those with I-style characteristics have their energy levels set as high as they can go. They are bubbly, bold, and excited most of the time, and love to share those feelings with others. They find great enjoyment in their work, hobbies, or friendships, and pursue everything with vigor. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new friendship, extra projects at work, or a new pastime – they will always wear their happiness on their sleeves and will readily share that excitement with others.

5. You Are Collaborative
Ironically, I-style individuals know that there is no “I” in a team. They want to include everybody in their work and are always ready to cooperate and collaborate. They see most activities as a team effort and strive to ensure that all members of the team feel included and valued.

This tendency stems from their innate ability to inspire and lead others, but being put in a position of leadership does not prevent them from delegating tasks to those around them. They will typically ask for a second and third opinion on a project, striving to include as many voices as possible in the finished product.

6. You Are Emotional
Along with their natural enthusiasm comes a tendency for I-style individuals to get swept up in their own feelings. They can experience mood swings in nearly any circumstance, and they may not always be positive ones. They can become easily offended by criticism or exclusion, and little things can affect them in both good and bad ways.

They are never shy about how they feel and expect those around them to take those feelings seriously. This can be helpful at times, but it can get them into trouble when a level head is needed.

7. You Are Free-Spirited
Those with a dominant I-style personality type do not allow themselves to be tied down by convention. They approach life as a blank canvas, seeing inspiration everywhere. They are excellent brainstormers because they can usually be relied on to think of solutions that others have not.

They won’t follow agendas or instructions to the letter, but will instead find new ways to gain joy and life out of an experience. When something doesn’t go “according to plan,” they won’t let that affect them too badly, but will instead look for the next best opportunity.

S-Style: The Steady Personality

1. You Are Calm and Balanced
Steady, stable, and secure – these are all words to describe the S-style personality type. They remain level-headed in any circumstance, even when everything around them seems to be going haywire. They have a natural internal balance that allows them to calmly assess the situation and find the best way out. They are not prone to mood swings or emotional outbursts but can be relied upon for an objective viewpoint. They tend not to be extreme, either in their actions or viewpoints, which can be helpful in intense argumentative situations.

2. You Are Dependable
Those with an S-style personality are reliable and dependable. They never miss a deadline, they always keep their commitments, and their work is of consistent quality. While they may not wow you by going over and above (unless they are dependable in that way), they will nevertheless maintain their standards over time in a way that provides stability and fosters trust.

If they say they will come through, they will find a way to do so. This kind of team player is invaluable in business because every team needs solid performers that can deliver each and every time.

3. You Rely on a Routine
S-style individuals do not react well when things don’t go exactly according to plan. They have their calendars, their belongings, and maybe even their diet organized under a strict regimen. Anomalies and variables do not sit well with them. They prefer a predictable routine that they can control and influence.

They also will stick within their comfort zones, whether it’s with an upcoming project at work or a new and unfamiliar social setting. They may end up enjoying a new experience if they were to try it, but getting them over the first hurdle of agreeing to try it is the hardest step.

4. You Are Reserved
Those with a dominant S-style personality are calm and balanced, which also means that they will not show their emotions very easily. They tend to be reserved with how they express themselves, whether with their speech or dress, or activities. They will be mostly private, preferring to keep to themselves.

You won’t see them posting every meal or thought on social media because they value their privacy and want to keep some things out of the public eye. They may not speak up if an argument arises, and will rarely contradict others if confronted.

5. You Seek Consensus
S-style individuals just want everyone to get along and be happy together. They actively avoid conflict and try to find common ground in any situation where disagreement occurs. They would much rather get everyone on the same page as quickly as possible, and not let discussions drag out for what seems like forever.

They hate disagreement and will work (generally behind the scenes) to try to smooth things over before a situation gets out of hand. Someone like this is essential when you have team members or friends that never seem to get along – when the friction starts, call in your S-style friend.

6. You Are a Team Player
An S-style person will seek the good of the group, occasionally at their own expense. They are the best example of a true team player, consistently seeking ways that they can serve others. This can be as simple as selecting the right gift for a friend’s birthday or offering to cover a shift for someone when they need to be away from work.

This may involve working late to help someone with their project, or simply making themselves available for a friend or family member that needs assistance. Whatever the case may be, the S-Style individual may burn themselves out by taking on too many demands, but because they naturally want to help others, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

7. You Are Slow to Accept Change
Along with a comfortable routine, S-style people are highly averse to change. If they are transferred to another department, forced to relocate to a new city, or even if something as simple as their favorite flavor of ice cream was discontinued, this can cause them to become flustered and uneasy.

They like things exactly the way they are and see no need for things to be different. They will usually find ways to work around the newness, or it may take them some time to be fully comfortable with the change. Then, unfortunately, the cycle will repeat itself when new changes occur.

C-Style: The Compliant Personality

1. You Are Analytical and Precise
A C-style individual only cares about the facts. They do not want opinions to clutter up what would otherwise be a cut-and-dried decision. They will spend as much time as possible gathering as much data as possible and take even more time to determine the best way to understand the results from that data.

Then, once they have considered it from every angle and triple-checked their work, they will present their findings and deny that any other conclusion could have been reached. They are very precise and will engage in a thorough analysis of even the smallest decisions.

2. You are Detail-Oriented
Someone with a dominant C-style personality type is highly focused on the finest details. This can lead them to become bogged down in minutiae, but they would rather everything be correct than present something that feels haphazard and incomplete.

They will check and recheck every element before presenting the finished product, and they will take great pride in the fact that they have done so. It is essential that they build extra time into their schedules to execute this process, and their managers need to understand that this is not only vital to their work but will result in a higher quality product.

3. You Are Driven by Results
While others may have a vague goal in mind, C-style people have a clearly articulated picture of what successful completion looks like. They are problem solvers to the highest degree and will work in a methodical and linear method to ensure that everything is done correctly and properly.

In this way, they would prefer to work alone to ensure that their lofty standards are met without too much outside interference. This can lead them to sacrifice relationships in favor of their accomplishments. In their minds, however, the results will speak for themselves.

4. You Are a Natural Organizer
For C-style individuals, there is a place for everything, and everything should be in its place. Whether sorted alphabetically, by size, by color, or by some personal system, nothing is out of place or disheveled. This applies to their workspace, their vehicles, and their homes.

If something appears disorderly, they will not rest until the perceived chaos has been resolved. Their organization can also apply to their calendars: they are always right on time for every meeting and social gathering, and they will never forget a birthday or special occasion.

5. You Are Cautious
Those with a dominant C-style personality will avoid risk at all costs. They are skeptical of new experiences and will be cautious in most situations. They will turn down new options in almost every scenario, instead favoring what is known and comfortable.

They would plan as much as possible if they were traveling to an unfamiliar area and would seek out ways that they could make their experience as predictable as possible. They may also take time to develop interpersonal relationships and would prefer not to commit to too much too soon.

6. You Are Private
A C-style person will likely be vague and non-committal if you ask what their weekend plans are. This does not necessarily mean that they are avoiding the question; they simply value their privacy and do not advertise their activities to the world. They have a very small and close-knit inner circle, and it takes time to build trust to gain a C-style person as a friend.

They do not broadcast what they are feeling but will hold much of their lives close to the vest. Being vulnerable, even in ways that most would view as small or meaningless, makes them uncomfortable, so be sure to empathize with them and respect their personal “bubble.”

7. You Are Compliant
Someone with a dominant C-style personality will follow every rule, every time. They will read the manual before starting anything and are the last person to question authority. They cannot comprehend why someone would color outside the lines, especially since most systems like this create a comfort level for C-style people.

When new directives are handed down, they will do whatever they can to comply with them as soon as possible. This can apply in social situations as well: once a group consensus has been reached, even if they disagree with it, they will go along with the crowd to avoid a confrontation.


It is important to understand the strengths and potential weaknesses of each personality type, including and especially your own. By gaining these valuable insights into yourself and others, you can become a better teammate and friend to others. You can help them understand the best ways to interact with you, and, more importantly, you will learn new and more thoughtful and considerate ways to interact with them.

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