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How different DISC profiles react to COVID-19

DISC Personality Profiling is a universal language of behaviour. Under the DISC model, research has shown that behavioural characteristics can be grouped together in four major divisions called personality styles. People with similar styles tend to exhibit specific behavioural characteristics common to that style. All people share these four styles in varying degrees of intensity.

The acronym DISC stands for the four personality styles represented by the letters:

  • D (Drive)

  • I (Influence)

  • S (Steadiness)

  • C (Compliance)


So, in a workplace context, how does one’s DISC personality style reflect how someone may cope with the effects and challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic? Let us share with you some of our observations based on the DISC model.


D – Drive

Traits: Fast-Paced, Direct, Results-Driven
Initial Reaction: Fight or Flight

The initial reaction of high Ds was probably one of stark realisation. COVID-19 might have triggered them into a ‘fight or flight’ response. They might have felt like they needed to defend or protect themselves and their loved ones, or flee when needed.

Focused Reaction: Innovation, find solutions to problems

After the initial shock has worn off, high Ds clear their minds quickly, calm down, and start to come up with feasible plans and/or strategies. They help their teams to focus on the bigger picture for their business, without emphasising too much on the ‘doom and gloom’.

High Ds look at what tasks they can control, and what results are still achievable. They are courageous so they are more vocal about what changes need to be made swiftly, and what actions need to be taken.

During times of crisis, the quick and bold decision-making process of high Ds is much appreciated.  They are great leaders to lead from the front (although they may still need inputs and support from other people with different DISC styles). 


I – Influence

Traits: Enthusiastic, Flexible, Optimistic
Initial Reaction: Loss of connections, “Really?”

High I’s were initially very concerned with how the pandemic would affect their connections with others. Since they are people-oriented and fuelled by interactions with people, they were concerned about social distancing measures and restrictions.

Focused Reaction: “How can I still influence others?”

People who are high I’s are excellent influencers. They can use this talent in difficult times to help others come around to necessary changes. They have great attitudes and excellent communication skills to talk through challenging issues. They are great encouragers and creative problem solvers.

High I’s are generally very optimistic. They keep their spirits high (despite social distancing). They can find ways to make things more fun and engaging virtually. They tend to share more positive news and inspirational content with others to make their day.


S – Steadiness

Traits: Stable, Consistent, Supportive, Listener
Initial Reaction: More awareness and understanding over panic

High S’s took the changes in stride. The steadiness that is their hallmark trait became very useful during this confusing time. High S’s would do anything to help support the business steer through challenges. They are strong team players. They may not be the most comfortable with all the necessary changes, but they are highly cooperative and supportive.

Focused Reaction: Focus on business sustainability

High S’s are prepared to do business from anywhere, remote work included. Their goal is to continue to provide dependable and predictable service, while they wait for changes in business strategy and direction. Their reliability, patience, and consistency are a source of great comfort and enables them to lend strong support to leaders. 

High S’s are great listeners and natural peacemakers. During a crisis, the environment can get intense and high S’s will be your neutralisers as they are excellent at reconciling conflicts. High S’s have great empathy. If people need to get things off their chest during difficult times, high S’s are the people to go to.  


C – Compliance

Traits: Conscientious, Systematic, Analytical
Initial Reaction: “Social Distancing? No Problem!”

High C’s may have started the conversation by noting that high D’s and high I’s were probably already missing interaction, while they were welcoming the distance. Their task-oriented nature made the shift to virtual much easier than it had been for their peers.

Focused Reaction: Leveraging new opportunities

High C’s are well-positioned to help people figure out the logistics of working virtually. They help their teams focus on the positive aspects of working remotely, like saving time and increasing efficiency. They help people re-evaluate their business structure or craft plans to come out of this crisis as best as they can. High C’s love working with data and are highly analytical.

At times, it may take high C’s a slightly longer time to reach a final solution or conclusion, but their solution is often well-researched and accurate. High C’s are great at defining the situation, asking excellent questions, gathering information, challenging assumptions, and testing existing information. 


By understanding how people with different DISC profiles react to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be able to better engage and support your team during these challenging times. Please share with us if you resonate with any of the above observations, for yourself or for your teams. Feel free to get in touch with us to explore more about DISC and how it can help you improve your workplace culture and manage your stress levels effectively.

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