My DiSC Assessment

There are certain necessities in life that everyone ubiquitously despises. These include, but are not limited to, taxes, jury duty, paying bills, the DMV, and taking tests. Let’s discuss the latter.

It seems that taking tests is enjoyable only to those that know they will perform well. You remember those kids in school who carefully laid out their perfectly sharpened number two pencils next to their Hello Kitty erasers, as if to say “I’m going to friggin’ rock this exam while the rest of you cry tears of shame at your pitiful desks.”.

Yeah, those kids. Well, those kids grow up. And then they have to take DiSC tests.

You can’t study for a DiSC test, nor obsessively sharpen pencils to shake off pre-test jitters, because it’s taken online. You can’t go into the test confident that you’ll do well, because there’s no such thing as “doing well” on a test like this. It’s designed to pick apart the bits of your personality as it pertains to work and relationships. It’s a combination of a mirror and magnifying glass, showing you those chunks of food stuck in your teeth and blackheads on the side of your nose, metaphorically speaking, of course. However, the test isn’t designed to highlight your negative traits, that would just be mean. It is simply an evaluation; no bias. No amount of studying can help your score on an unbiased test based on data. Data don’t lie.

The “Everything DiSC Workplace Profile” is an 80 question test with results broken down into four behavioral types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. All individuals possess all four characteristics, but the test is designed to show that most people tend to exhibit one or two styles more strongly. Companies like to have prospective employees take the test as a data-driven method to evaluate how candidates approach their work and relationships.

DiSC Test Breakdown

I was evaluated back in February and I am an “Si”. This means my primary style is Steadiness and my secondary style is Influence. There is a combination of eight possible scales: D, Di/iD, i, iS/Si, S, SC/CS, C and CD/DC

Emma Still DiSC Test Results
Primary style: Steadiness Secondary style: Influence

One of the coolest things about the test is that there is such thorough information about the results. I was sent a 20 page document detailing every aspect of my style, what it means, and how I tend to interact with other styles.

Results I’m proud of:

I am proud to say that the characteristics of the “i” style describe me accurately. As “part-i”, I am described as being outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, high-spirited, and lively. If there’s one thing I am, it’s definitely enthusiastic. It makes me sad when other people have ho-hum attitudes and it’s in my nature to get people jazzed. If I wasn’t as enthusiastic about what I do for a living, I think I’d be pretty miserable. The best part about being enthusiastic about my work is that I get to share the love with other people, whether it be the company sales team or clients or the few people that might be reading my blog.

As an Si, I tend to be empathetic, am quick to offer a smile, and make an effort to get to know people personally. This is how I show people that I care. I also tend to be more of a service-oriented person who enjoys meeting the needs of other people. I tend to be tactful and choose my words carefully to avoid any miscommunication. I pride myself on being able to provide clear, concise, and accurate information to those who need it, because I believe that it shows how much I care. In fact, that was one of the main goals of starting this personal blogging journey- I wanted to hone my writing skills in order to be able to say what I mean, with little room for interpretation.

I would agree that the traits above accurately represent my “style”. However, the test isn’t all positive results; it forces you to take an introspective look at yourself and the areas in which you could improve. It forces you to take the good with the bad, and the things you may or may not agree with.

Results I’m not so proud of:

“You tend to keep a low profile during conflict situations because of your high need for maintaining harmony. You’re unlikely to confront others, and you don’t respond well to aggression.” If there’s one situation that makes me uncomfortable, it’s unnecessary aggression. This probably stems from my hatred of over-dramatic situations that could otherwise be resolved peacefully. As much as I wish I could be the aggressive lion, and present issues the second they arise, I like to make sure my issues/arguments are valid before I present them or confront someone with them. I think this ties in with the characteristics above, in which I carefully choose my words to avoid miscommunication. However, one can only sit on a blog post, email, or conversation for so long before it needs to be unleashed, potential miscommunications and all.

Results that are debatable:

The test isn’t 100% accurate and obviously shouldn’t be the only way to judge a candidate, and it helps knowing that going into the test.

My results say, “Competitive situations aren’t really your style and you may have trouble relating to people who seem more interested in individual accomplishments“, which I take with a grain of salt. Although I believe competition is healthy, it’s not my style to maliciously stomp on others for personal gain. However, being in a competitive environment with other successful people pushes me to work harder in order to be on their level, and higher. I certainly don’t think that I could be successful in search if I didn’t feel comfortable in competitive situations, because the SERPs are the ultimate scoreboard for all competitors to see. The SEO industry is incredibly competitive, but look at how willing we all are to help each other out, and offer advice when possible. There’s a healthy balance that I think should be maintained, and I respect others’ pride in their individual accomplishments.

What the test can’t tell you:

The test can’t tell you that I am a twin, or that I love animals, or that I’m brutally honest and sarcastic most of the time. (I’m pretty surprised I didn’t score more “D” points). The test can’t tell you that I enjoy spending my free time reading with a glass of wine in my Snuggie. The test can’t tell you I love bacon, making people laugh, Oxford commas, or that I’m obsessed with the chair I reupholstered.

The test can’t tell you where I’ve been, who exactly I am, and where I’m going. But then again, it wasn’t designed to.

Sometimes I wish I could say I was more of a “D” or a “C”, and some days I am! (Remember, all people do possess all four styles). But the reality of the situation is that I truly am driven by pleasing other people while maintaining harmony, with an enthusiastic and optimistic attitude. That’s what makes me, me! That’s what makes me want to deliver the best results for clients. That’s what makes me liked by the people around me.

The world balances out by having individuals from different styles coexisting. If we were all the same, life would be pretty boring and not much of a challenge, wouldn’t you say?

Having danced classical ballet for the majority of my life, I am used to constructive criticism. In fact, I welcome it. From an early age, I was told by my British ballet mistress that my feet resembled dead fish, my legs were wet noodles, and that if my hair was not perfect, I would promptly be sent home. Little did my 10-year-old-self know that those seemingly insulting criticisms would turn out to be one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life:

You. Are. Not. Perfect.

You can’t be all things to all people. Your ballet technique, your personality traits, and your DiSC test results aren’t always going to be perfect, but what CAN be perfect is how you grow from taking an introspective look at yourself.

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5 Responses to My DiSC Assessment

  1. Anthony Pensabene says:

    Hey Emma

    I Jung around personality discussions and such as a younger man, before the epoch of ‘fancy beards,’ but I digress :) .. I’m not directly familiar with DiSC, but thank you for the illustration here.

    I enjoy your respect of the objectivity of assessment and dual acknowledgement of the subjective, little moments of life, which comprise us.

    From a manager’s perspective, do you feel the data can help you as a worker? Do you think it’s advantageous for employers to have candidates take tests ahead of time? I wonder if knowing information ahead of time may be disadvantageous in some regards for workers. (Example, an exec may erroneously assume someone who does not like confrontation will make a poor manager)

    • Emma Still says:

      Thanks for the input, Mr. ThinkGood :)

      It’s interesting, because although it’s an unbiased test, it’s also hard to not take the results personally. After all, it DOES evaluate your personality. It was kind of disappointing to me that the test didn’t pick up on how direct and forthcoming I can be (it’s the New-Yorker in me :) ), but perhaps my positivity and willingness to please overshadows that, and obviously the test can’t be 100% accurate.

      I feel that the data might not definitively help or hurt you, rather provide extra information about a candidate that an employer might have a hard time reading in interviews. I don’t know that it’s advantageous to test a candidate ahead of time, as you could be making false assumptions about the candidate instead of going with your gut and the human connection you have with the person. I can’t imagine how an employer would feel to fall in love with a candidate, then decide to test them, only to find less-than-ideal results. What should a manager do in that situation?

      The test could be debated all day long, but at the end of the day, it’s about the person, how they fit in with company culture, how hard they are willing to work to achieve success, and the value they provide for the organization, IMO.

      I’d be curious if my coworkers thought this accurately represented “my style”. I’d also be curious to see if the results change over time.

  2. Wayne says:

    Hi Emma,
    Thank you for your very personal account of the DISC assessment. My business partner and I have been looking at the DISC as a tool to help us choose an administrative assistant. We each took the test to find our own results and, not surprisingly (for sales people), found our profiles to be very much like you described of yourself. I too found my D to be quite low and wish, at times, it was higher, but have found that my personality has served me well – so no complaints really. Once again, I thank you for your frank discussion of your own DISC profile and look forward to learning more about the DISC and how it will be useful for me and my business.

  3. Hi Emma…I’m afraid you have been deceived…the DISC was declared DEAD a long time ago by people who are experts in the field of test development. Of course, test professionals don’t have any vested interest in the DISC so they tend to be a little more honest than people selling the DISC (which is just about anyone with a credit card).

    I won’t go into the boring details of test development…But, doesn’t it seem strange that answering 80 either/or questions could give you twenty pages of detailed personal explanation? Do you think it’s more likely that you answered more questions about being dominant and less about being outgoing and the test merely added up the words? They were like a mirror…You chose a bunch of words to describe yourself and the report spitted your own words back to you…Is it any surprise the scores were so “accurate”?

    Even bad tests can snooker good people… BTW… personality test scores have almost zero, nada, zilch, relationship with job performance…Measure job skills instead. I know. I’ve spent six years in grad school and 15 years on the job studying these things.

    Check it off as a fun experiment…but don;t put too much faith in it.

  4. Kristeen Bullwinkle says:

    Really interesting conversation here. I’d like to point out a few things as someone familiar with DiSC. There are many “flavors” of DISC and it looks like Emma took the one that’s been validated and used adaptive testing techniques to improve it’s quality. It’s the one published by Wiley and has the little i in the name.
    I would never recommend DiSC to be used as a hiring tool, except in the very late stages if you have two candidates who both look good and you want to add another data point to your decision. You might want to choose someone with a style that your team lacks, for example. Or you might want to use it as an on-boarding tool to help everyone in a newly forming team to understand each other a little better.

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