DiSC® - Diving Deeper into the i (Influence) Style

Posted by Bill Harshman on

Influence Style

This lesson is first in a series taking a deeper dive into the research behind the characteristics, thought processes, core needs, and assumptions associated with each of the DiSC® styles.  Today’s focus is on the i (Influence) styleAs with any assessment, there are always a small percentage of outliers from the existing research.  However, the reliability and validity of the DiSC® has stood the test of time.

This lesson will be helpful if you don’t know your style OR if you are a different style.  Here is a reminder:  One of the Cornerstone Principles of DiSC® is that “Everyone is a unique blend of all DiSC® styles, and people typically tend toward one style.”  I’ll suggest at this point that you read/listen for those insights that will help you make sense of your own, unique experience.

Here is another reminder about the Influence style to provide context.  The i has a PACE of Faster & Outspoken, combined with an AGREEABLENESS quotient of Accepting & Warm (people-focused).  And, their brief list of (observable behaviors) descriptors include:  Outgoing, Enthusiastic, Optimistic, High-spirited, Lively.  (For more specifics on the i style, refer to the blog titled,DiSC®  – Understanding the Influence (i) Style”) at our website, www.TrainingLocation.com.

The thrust of this article is the core needs that tie those descriptors together.  For example, why is it that people with an i style lean (more than the average person) toward being social, charming, talkative, etc.?  And, is there underlying motivation to these observable behaviors?  In order to understand that, let’s look at the core needs.

Core Needs of the Influence Style:

  1. The i style has a need for connection. This gives their lives meaning.  The i style will act to make sure that their connections aren’t jeopardized.
  2. The i style has a need for expression. They need to externalize the thoughts and emotions that are tumbling around in their brain.  They need to get those ideas out there, but also have them heard and acknowledged by another person.
  3. The i style has a need for stimulation. Much more so than the average person.  The i brain is particularly tuned in to the rewards of the environment.
  4. The i style has a need to be wanted. It’s directed toward being wanted by other people.  The i style will seek to AVOID being insecure about being wanted.

These core needs show up in how a person approaches their life (work, family, recreation, etc.) and there are positives and negatives to each need.  These needs appear as behaviors, including a strong behavior of being social.  People with the i style find relationships to be particularly gratifying.  They are charged by the chance to connect with and be open toward other people.  They have a lower-than-average level of self-conscientiousness in social situations, and experience less potential threat with a new conversation.  They have less filter than their more guarded counterparts.  Any concern they might have about saying something that they may regret is tied to this need for social connection.

Also, some have teased the i style about being attracted to bright, shiny objects with a potential for immediate excitement and fun.  This doesn’t mean that the i style can’t dig deep into topics where the answers and gratification don’t come easily.  The i style has a great sense of internal drive, however that drive is aimed at the new or novel work compared to the slow, even-paced, thankless work.

Driving Assumptions of the Influence Style:

A very important part of who we have become are driving assumptions.  These are unconscious.  These driving assumptions which are created at a young age now drive our behavior and guide our interpretation and understanding of the world around us.  Here are the top three assumptions of the i style:

  • I am responsible for making sure that everyone is comfortable and everyone is enjoying themselves
  • I should never be the source of someone else's unhappiness
  • I'm valuable because I make other people happy

There is a significant amount of research and implications to these driving assumptions.  However, in the interest of time, just keeping these in the back of your mind will remind you of the simple humanness of people, whatever their style.  Our growth as people is to simply monitor our behavior and our thoughts, and become aware as to when these assumptions are being played out in the background. 

What does all this mean and how do I interpret and make meaning from this for either me or the is in my life?  That presents myriad items on a long list, however let’s look at one small aspect within leadership.  Leaders with the i style were rated particularly high in areas like rallying other people to things like achieving goals and building enthusiasm.  And, they are more willing to allow themselves to be vulnerable.  The i style is more likely to experience hurt versus cover it up.  They enjoy more opportunities to be honest with themselves.

The “So what?” is to understand that the core needs and driving assumptions of the i style work both independently and together all the time in everything you do.  Some aspects have more influence on observable behavior than others at any given moment.  Thinking critically of the interrelatedness of the core needs and driving assumptions will serve you well.

I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of DiSC®, especially the Influence style.  Whether your needs include Onboarding, Employee Engagement, Culture Change, Conflict Management, Team Building, or simply Communication, DiSC® is the research-based, proven, leading training solution.

As ALWAYS, the key to effectiveness through DiSC® is understanding your and others’ styles and then using that knowledge for improved interactions.

If you would like a live, complimentary webinar (online) for your team or organization, please send an email to info@traininglocation.com.  If you’d like to purchase the DiSC®, visit  DiSC® Classic or Everything DiSC® at our website.  And, check out our products from The Ken Blanchard Companies as well.

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →