DISC personality assessments are self-evaluation tools used by over a million people each year. They are based on psychologist William Marston’s DISC theory, which classifies four major behavioral styles.
Marston described his theory in his book Emotions of Normal People, published in 1928. His model of human behavior is based on two foundational observations about how people normally behave:
While some people are more active, others are more reflective.
And while some people are more task-oriented, others are more people-oriented.
Thus, four basic personality traits emerge to form the DISC model:
- Dominance (active and task-oriented)
- Influence (active and people-oriented)
- Steadiness (reflective and people-oriented)
- Conscientious (reflective and task-oriented)
Marston never created a DISC assessment himself; others over the years have created different question inventories based on his model.
Keep in mind that no DISC style is better or worse. The DISC model provides a common language that people can use to better understand themselves and to adapt their behaviors when they’re working with others. We all have a preferred way of doing things so it’s good to know our own natural style. It’s also important to be able to identify the preferred style of others so you know how best to work with them.