How to Use Behavioral Personality Styles as an Advantage in Our Businesses, Life and Family
By Chris King

Network Marketing around the worldIn all walks of our lives, we are in the “people business.” The more effectively we communicate and interact with others, the more successful we are at relationship building and marketing.

One of the methods I have been using for years in all areas is knowing and using the four major behavioral styles. I was introduced years ago to the DISC model of human behavior that helps us to understand "why people do what they do." The dimensions of Dominance, Influencing, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness make up the model and interact with other factors to describe human behavior.

Each of us has developed a distinct way of thinking, feeling and acting which becomes our behavioral style. Our unique patterns distinguish us from one another, and express our individual identities just like our thumbprint. Each DISC style has great strengths, and potential limitations if overused. Also, we are often a combination of all four styles, but usually have two that are more dominant. This is what makes us unique.

It is important to remember that no style is better than another. What works is when we understand our style differences and use them to advantage. A team made up of those dominant in each of the styles is a strong team. As I describe the styles below, I will give hints about the best ways to use this knowledge for successful interaction with each.

First, for fun, a brief history. Note: that even though the styles are the same and have been highlighted for centuries, they show up with different names and presentations. It doesn’t matter as long as we become comfortable with them and using them.

The Greek philosopher, Hippocrates (400 BC), said it's the fluids that run through your body. If you have a cold fast fluid, Hippocrates believed, you will be very direct, dominant, decisive and a leadership-type person (choleric). If you have a fast warm or a hot fluid, so hot as so fast that it might bubble out of your mouth, you would be the kind of person who is talking all the time (sanguine). Or maybe you have a fluid that is warm and slow. You would be family oriented, stable and relational (phlegmatic). Or maybe you have a slow, cold fluid. It made you a thinker, meticulous, a perfectionist who wants exact details (melancholy).

The development of the DISC as we know it was primarily due to the work of the American psychologist, Dr. William Moulton Marston. He was an expert in behavioral understanding. In 1926 he published "The Emotions of Normal People" in which he outlined the current language. Until that time, this type of work was confined to all criminally insane and mentally ill people. He grouped people along two axis: either active or passive tendencies dependent upon their either antagonistic or favorable view of the environment. From this, the four styles were formed: D (Drive), I (Influence), S (Steadiness), and C (Compliance).

The D (Driver) possesses the Effective Traits: Direct, Self Assured, Gets Results. And the Ineffective Traits: Dictatorial, Demanding, Sarcastic. They are task oriented and driven. Most D's are active, in a hurry, and business like. Idle chatter turns them off, so do not ask them a lot of personal questions.

The I (Influencer) possesses the Effective Traits: People Oriented, Persuasive. And the Ineffective Traits: Talks too much, Lacks Focus. Most I's are also active, but love to tell you their story and also find out more about you. They are sociable and great networkers, but do need to listen more.

The S (Slow, Steady and Stable) possesses the Effective Traits: Listener, Loyal, Consistent. Ineffective Traits: Indecisive, Resists Change. Most S's are wonderful team players and nurturers. They want to go along with what others are doing and accomplishing.

The C (Conscientious, Compliance, Cautious) possesses the Effective Traits: Accurate, Detail Oriented. Ineffective Traits: Perfectionistic, Accurate, Critical. Most C's want to know all of the facts. They also tend to be skeptical of any kind of flattery (even when it is sincere). I told a C I liked her outfit and it turned her off completely.

I have only scratched the surface here, so I suggest you peruse a few of the many websites that discuss the behavioral personality styles. There are groups that still use the names created by Hippocrates and others that name the styles using colors. I have found, however, that we are all talking about the same characteristics.

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