What is DISC?

A Brief Explanation of DISC Theory

Founder of DISC Theory

Dr. William Moulton Marston developed DISC Theory while at Harvard University and doing research for his book The Emotions of Normal People during the 1920's He was looking to identify predictable traits and behaviors of every day people in different environments.

DISC styles are a combination of four behavioral personality types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness

William Moulton Marston and Emotions of Normal People Book


This trait relates to assertiveness, power and control. Someone who registers high in this category could be described as decisive, direct, argumentative, a problem-solver and risk-taker.

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This trait relates to communication and sociability. Someone who registers high in this category could be described as outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, charismatic, persuasive, impulsive and emotional.

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This trait relates to thoughtfulness, patience and stability. Someone who registers high in this category could be described as predictable, an excellent listener, a team-player, friendly, generous, supportive and understanding.

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This trait relates to structure and organization. Someone who registers high in this category could be described as accurate, systematic, slower-paced, task-oriented, perfectionistic and analytical.

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DISC Personality Style Traits & Intensities

The four DISC styles are not black and white. We have some level of each of the DISC traits in our personality. It’s just a matter of what combinations are high or low. A high level of dominance predicts our behavior in the same way a low level of dominance does, so intensity does matter.  When analyzing a person’s personality style, we look at which combinations are highest; also taking into account how high or low each style is on the DISC graphs (pictured to the left).

By taking the DISC test and looking at one’s primary, secondary, tertiary, and even absent style traits, we are able to determine one’s DISC personality type and how they will act, react, communicate, handle conflict, and even organize a project or work space in a given environment.

DISC Styles & Environments

DISC styles commonly are different in the home environment, in a social environment, and in a work environment. This information can be very powerful when used in hiring the right person for a position, increasing communication between teams and individuals, training managers and leaders, and many more DISC applications

By understanding one’s needs, fears, and tendencies in communication and behavior, you can proactively adapt or approach them in a way in which they will react positively.

People are all different, but people are predictably different!

Custom DISC Report Cover

PeopleKeys® DISC Personality System

The PeopleKeys DISC Personality system has been utilized in business and personal applications for over 35 years. The theory behind the test is based on Dr. Marston’s research, but has been turned into a validated and reliable behavioral assessment tool, used internationally.

In the same way one could combine primary paint colors to create new and beautiful colors, DISC uses the D, I, S, and C styles as the primary colors to create different combinations and intensities of unique personalities. The DISC behavioral assessment is easy to understand and apply in a number of environments and applications.