DISCovering your client and colleague personality types

Image for Elise Bailey-Probert By Elise Bailey-Probert

It’s not unusual to identify someone as a certain ‘type’ of person. You know that client who sends, what feel like, annoying replies when you’re trying to better understand the brief… well, maybe they aren’t being challenging and abrupt after all?

We all have some awareness of the type of person we are, just as we like to identify personalities in others. It helps us understand them (and ourselves) better; uncovering such similarities or differences play a significant part in the success of our interactions.

DISC profiling can help you figure out the best way to incite more productive thinking, actions and conversations for more positive, efficient outcomes. It can be utilised to enhance day-to-day communications with clients, boost teamwork in the studio and even to get to know yourself better (why do you like lengthy out-of-office replies that detail holiday plans and the many glasses of wine you plan to drink?!).

What is DISC profiling?

DISC is a well-established tool that assesses the behavioural patterns of individuals through the assignment of one of four personality types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Each of these dimensions are further categorised into sixteen subtypes that offer more in-depth insights about people: their motivations, strengths and weaknesses. These results can benefit your recognition and appreciation of different personality types you encounter not only in your personal life, but across your agency too. It supports relationship-building between the team and clients alike, as it details characteristics of who you are talking to, their preferred interaction style and way of working.

D-personalities are likely to be direct, assertive, independent, and decisive.

I-personalities tend to be confident, engaging and extremely approachable.

S-personalities are likely to be naturally reserved people who look for supportive, consistent relationships.

C-personalities are extremely analytical, and gravitate towards process, structure, and rules.

In practice…

It actually makes sense that you’ll find ‘Influential’ Account Directors and Designers energetic and inspiring the team, just as you’ll find ‘Conscientious’ Ops Directors and Coders who are precise in their work and logical in their approach. The results often reflect natural traits that, unsurprisingly, coincide with the ‘type’ of person outlined in job descriptions, for example a ‘Dominant’ candidate’s success in their application for the Project Manager position as a role that required an outgoing and task-oriented individual.

You should detach any connotations or prescriptive dictionary definitions you associate with the profiling categories as they all have their own value – there is not one better than another. For instance, if you profile a client as Dominant, this doesn’t mean they are an aggressive individual who you should want to avoid working with, they are direct and decisive characters – especially when it comes to tackling projects. Equally, the steady-relator isn’t slow and indecisive, they are consistent and loyal team players – the perfect data analysts or quality controllers. The DISC assessment appreciates the diversity of human behaviour and our flexibility to accommodate and collaborate with others motivated by shared goals, be it in the workplace or debating what to have for dinner with your other half.

There are several easily accessible DISC profiling sites that you and your team can explore to DISCover yourselves, without the cost of a backpacking trip. Crystal Knows is one popular online resource where you can take a free personality test, connect to your LinkedIn account to profile your network and uncover elements of the personality styles in more detail. You can optimise your productivity, leadership, sales process and relationship-building across your agency with a simple, self-assessment. You can even make a connection between the contents of your fridge and your personality type; are you a sensible shopper? Or an imaginative one? But we’re going off topic, it’s almost like this was written by a talkative influencer.

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