What is a DISC Assessment Test?

What is DISC?

DISC is a science and popular assessment type that is used to help you understand your behavioral preferences at work and home.

The applications for this assessment are limitless. This page will go over the science of DISC, what the report sections will cover, how to apply it to your career, and more.


DISC 101

DISC is often referred to as “the universal language of observable human behavior.” The reason behind this is that in every culture studied, the DISC model has been found to be valid (Bonnstetter).  Whether you speak English or Swahili, the tools and science behind DISC can be used transparently. Often times when describing DISC, people will start with what DISC is not.  It is not a measurement of emotional intelligence, personal intelligence, motivations, or education and training.  It’s also not a measurement of one’s experience, personal skills, or world view. What DISC does measure is HOW you do what you do.  It is a measure of one’s OBSERVABLE behavior.  And lastly, it is a neutral language.  Meaning, there are no good or bad behavior styles in the DISC method.

The meat of today’s DISC is in the four dimensions that categorize behavior.

  1. Dominance (How you respond to problems and challenges)
  2. Influence (How you influence others to your point of view)
  3. Steadiness (How you respond to pace of environment)
  4. Compliance (How you respond to rules and procedures set by others)

The level of each of these dimensions determines what DISC style you have. Your style is often noted by whichever dimension you scored highest in, followed by any other dimensions that were above the energy line as well.

Disc chart

For example, if people asked what style I was on DISC, I’d tell them I’m a C. But because my S and I are also above that energy line in the center, I can mention I’m a C/S or a C/S/I if I liked. Because you can score within a wide range of numbers under each style, there’s a lot of depth to each individual’s score.

This is one of the major differentiators between an assessment like Myers-Briggs.

Lastly, DISC differentiates itself from “personality assessments” further by delving into the interpersonal relationships side of behaviors. Meaning, those trained in reading these tools can compare two contrasting DISC reports and predict rather accurately where conflict or harmony could arise. Using this insight, coaches can then help individuals or teams recognize these differences or similarities and turn them into assets.

History of DISC

The history and science behind DISC

Origins of The DISC Assessment

DISC is based on psychology that originated in the early 20th century by Dr. Carl Jung (introversion/extroversion) and William Marston.

Dr. Jung’s work on introversion and extroversion, as we know it today, helped pave the way for additional psychology regarding human behavior. Dr. Marston expanded on these studies with a desire to explain how normal human emotions lead to behavioral differences among people as well as to changes in a person’s behavior from time to time.  And in addition, to take these behaviors of an individual and understand their implications in interpersonal relationships. Marston similarly to Jung, created a four dimension system for measuring a person’s behaviors.  His included the following.

  1. Dominance (D)
  2. Inducement (I)
  3. Steadiness (S)
  4. Compliance (C)

Since Marston’s work in the 30′s and 40′s several modern day companies and scientists have updated his methods and findings to fit with the current patterns and observations reflected in today’s work environment. Bill Bonnstetter, the developer of TTI’s popular DISC assessment is one of the most recognized contributors to this field and it’s his modern day DISC assessment that we use for our assessments.

Parts of Your DISC Assessment

What You’ll Get From Your TTI DISC Assessment

Your Work Style Type

A few pages detailing how you tend to behave naturally, what you bring to the job, and how you would choose to do the job.


Character Traits

A visual list of descriptors under each section of D,I,S, and C that describe how you solve problems, influence people, respond to the pace of environment, and rules and procedures set by others.

Character Traits

Insights Wheel

A visual chart showing where your Adapted Behavior compares to your Natural Behavior.


Value to the Organization

Identifies the specific talents and behavior you bring to the job. Organizations can then develop a system to capitalize on the values the assessment taker brings to the team.

Natural & Adapted Styles

A few charts showing how you naturally approach challenges, people, pace, and procedures when you are being yourself vs adapting to your environment.

Communication Tips

A helpful section on how to communicate best with this person, how not to communicate with this person, as well as tips this person can use to communicate with others.

How Your Behaviors Rank

A visual rank of your traits from strongest to weakest in relation to observable behavior.

How You Adapt to Work

An outline of how your present work environment requires you to behave.

Your Ideal Work Environment

A description of the ideal work environment based on your behavioral style.

Your Ideal Work Environment

How People Perceive Your Behavior

How your behavior can be perceived by others when you are being yourself vs under pressure or stress.

How People Perceive Your Behavior

Keys to Being Motivated

Helpful tips on how a manager can motivate and manage you.

Keys to Being Motivated

Areas for Improvement

A few tips on how you can improve the areas you may be weak behavior wise.

Areas for Improvement

Action Plan

Some structured exercises to put your report to action.

Action Plan

Applications of DISC for Your Career

How to Apply DISC to Your Career

Finding Your Career Sweetspot

Finding a career that fits like a glove is a dream for most people.

Sometimes you might be in a job you are good at but you just don’t like it. Other times you might set out on your own, doing work you enjoy, but no one will pay you for it…or at least pay what you need to survive. DISC helps you find your strengths. Think of these as keywords to pay attention to when applying for a job. At the same time, you’ll discover certain words to avoid.

Descriptions to Pursue
  • Attention to Detail

  • Analytical

  • Good Team Player

  • Written Communication Skills

  • Organized

Descriptions to Avoid
  • Fast Paced

  • Lots of Change

  • Risk Seeker

  • No Structured Environment

  • Changing Priorities and Deadlines

Learning How You Adapt To The Job

Do you ever feel like you have to be a different person at work than at home?

Maybe you work in sales and you have to be more aggressive and direct with people than you would with your spouse and kids. Or maybe you work in a SLOW moving retail job and it feels like the day just drags on forever. You’re more the type that likes to get out there, go on adventures, and keep moving. We call these differences between the way you work and behave naturally “adaptations” and DISC helps you see where you’re experiencing it.

How does adapting to a job look on paper?

My first job out of college was soul-sucking misery. I was a marketing grad with an excellent GPA, amazing experience, and tons of initiative. But I ended up starting my career in a cold calling sales job.

Bad Fit

Bad fit

My DISC Assessment Right After Leaving My Soul Sucking Job

Good Fit

Good fit

My DISC Assessment 2 Years After Taking My Dream Job

Start at 28:50 for more on how DISC applies to your career.

When I first applied to work for Balanced WorkLife they made me take an assessment that included DISC.

One of the first charts the assessment shows demonstrated how I was adapting my behavior to do my previous job. The bars on the left represent how I was behaving on the job. The bars on the right represent how I behaved when I was being myself. A good job fit would show those bars in sync. I would be working in a way that was natural to how I normally behave. As you can see from my charts I was way out of sync and this was causing stress, burnout, and frustration. Two years later, in my new role of marketing, they had me retake my assessment. You can see the results in the chart to the left on the “Good Fit” tab. See the difference? I noticed it personally as well. I was excited to work. I did the type of tasks that came naturally to me and I was good at. I worked at a pace that I was comfortable with. I knew how I worked best and was able to mold a work environment that matched.

Learning Your True Strengths and Weaknesses

DISC Assessments aren’t going to tell you you’re a good coder or plumber.

You don’t need an assessment to tell you that. Instead, DISC assessments will show you where you excel behaviorally. Employers can see from a resume whether you have the hard skills to do a job. What they don’t know is if you have the soft skills to succeed. How much more of an advantage will you have over your competition if you can share your DISC report with your application showing you have both the hard and soft skills to succeed in the role?

Read Other’s Styles

Team wheel

What you will learn from a DISC Assessment you will take with you for a lifetime.

You won’t just learn how you work best and what kind of work style you have. You’ll start to see the styles of others around you. Once you understand your boss’s work style on top of your own, you can make small tweaks that will impress them immensely. Is your boss a D? Show her your sense of urgency, keep things simple, and show how you are affecting the bottom line. She’ll love you in no time.

About Our Assessment Developer

TTI Success Insights has been providing businesses and individuals the finest assessment tools and talent analytics for hiring, developing, and managing the best talent in the market for over 30 years.

TTI has a network of over 7,000 distributors, of which Careertopia is one. TTI spends their resources researching, testing, and validating their assessment tools, while distributors such as ourselves, help individuals and businesses connect with these tools to help them better understand themselves and others.