DiSC® - Stressors & Motivators of the C (Conscientious) Style

Posted by Bill Harshman on

Our topic today is “Stressors & Motivators of the C (Conscientious) Style.”  This updated session is one in a series discussing the Stressors & Motivators of the four DiSC® styles, which include:


Before we dive deeper, I have always encouraged learners to maintain a couple important pieces of baseline knowledge. These two pieces are critical to understanding DiSC®.  (This is especially for first-time readers of my blogs)

First are the Cornerstone Principles that we have discussed before:

  • All DiSC®styles are equally valuable
  • Everyone is a unique blend of all DiSC®styles, and people tend toward one or two styles
  • Your unique style is also influenced by other factors such as life experiences, education, and maturity


Second is the Basic DiSC® Styles Model:

 Basic DiSC Model

A person’s DiSC® style is decided by the intersection of two dimensions of observable behaviors (including body language, tone of voice, expression, and word choice):

The vertical dimension is known as PACE (or outward activity level) described as either Fast-paced & Outspoken OR Cautious & Reflective.  The horizontal dimension is known as your AGREEABLENESS quotient.  This means those who are “less agreeable” place a lower PRIORITY (concern) for cooperation and social harmony, and we refer to them as “Questioning & Skeptical” on the left end of this dimension.  A general term for them might be result-focused

Those who are “more agreeable” place a higher PRIORITY on cooperation and social harmony and we refer to them as “Accepting & Warm” on the right end of this dimension.  A general term for them might be people-focused.

*It is the interaction between these TWO continua which forms the four quadrants (or basic styles) of the DiSC® model, AND by which you identify a person’s DiSC® style.

Let’s now look at a very brief list of other descriptors to help you more easily and more accurately understand the C (Conscientious) style.

C Properties


Here is a reminder from an actual DiSC® Profile report for a C Style of the priorities that shape their workplace:

  • Ensuring Accuracy. Willing to do what it takes to get things right, not settling for subpar work.  Will analyze things carefully and make logical decisions based on objective facts.   Focus on accuracy to ensure high-quality outcomes.
  • Maintaining Stability. Tend to be self-controlled and cautious.  Prefer predictable setting where chaos and uncertainty don’t threaten the quality of their work.  CAN work under pressure, however dislike being pressured.  Focus on maintaining stability to produce consistent results. 
  • Offering Challenge. Tend to be logical and methodical.  Prefer in-depth analysis and willing to point out problems and flaws.  Skeptical of new ideas and will question people’s opinions if unconvinced. 

Remember the C motto?  “Do It Right”

Here is some deeper, researched information that contributes to our body of knowledge around the Conscientious Style:

  1. The Conscientious style has a need for safety and security; to have things in their life be stable, reduce unknowns, and identify dangers and threats; this includes the need to know all the rules.
  2. The Conscientious style has a powerful need to be beyond reproach. They might think, “My actions are so justifiable that I can’t be criticized.  I don’t want to be the one to blame or be responsible for a screw-up.  I’ll spend time and energy avoiding this position.”
  3. The Conscientious style has a strong need to / for control. Social interactions are tough because they are so unpredictable.  So, I’ll pull inward and control what I say.

Be mindful that being a C style includes driving assumptions which include:

  • Their need for accuracy is from pride, not defensiveness
  • They avoid mistakes and rely on logic
  • They must always maintain their credibility, not look foolish, and not lose basic respect of others

As we consider the behavioral tendencies coupled with these core needs and driving assumptions, it will help us better understand the stressors and motivators of the C style.

Let’s take a look at environmental factors which might conflict with or support the Conscientious style tendencies and core needs.

Let me preface this list with the following general description:  As a Conscientious style, you may find it draining when your job requires a lot of forced social interaction.  Due to your high standards, it may be stressful when you feel you don’t have the expertise to do a good job or when your work quality is questioned.

Here’s a list of environmental factors which may trigger stress for the C style:

  • Having little private time
  • Making decisions without time for analysis*
  • Being wrong or unprepared
  • Dealing with a chaotic environment*
  • Being forced to mingle with strangers*
  • Being forceful or insistent*
  • Working under time pressure*
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Being around emotional or erratic people

I want to call out a couple points from the previous list.  We spoke of environmental factors that may cause stress.  However, what if others’ behaviors trigger those stressors?

  • For example, just knowing what you do about the Basic DiSC® Styles Model, you see at least two styles that are more comfortable “dealing with a chaotic environment.” Those include D and i.
  • And, can you think of another style who CAN “Make decisions without time for analysis” or prefer “Working under time pressure”?” or “Being forceful or insistent?” I’m hoping you included a D style in your response.
  • And, the S is not only on the opposite end of the Agreeableness continua and people-focused, they are also good at accommodating others including “Being forced to mingle with strangers”

On some level, EACH of the other three styles natural behavior may be a stress trigger that you need to be aware of.  NOT being aware of this is the bigger problem.  Just food for thought whether you are a C, you manage a C, or work alongside a C.

NOW, let’s take a look at environmental factors which might align with the Conscientious style tendencies and core needs.  Different people find different aspects of their work motivating.  As a Conscientious style, you probably prefer to work in a stable setting where your logic is recognized and high standards are rewarded. 

Here’s a list of environmental factors which may provide motivation for the C style:

  • Creating efficient systems or procedures
  • Catching errors or flaws in design
  • Setting high standards
  • Solving problems through logic
  • Ensuring quality
  • Providing in-depth analysis
  • Emphasizing accuracy and precision
  • Working independently
  • Being an expert

So What?  Here are some general observations from research that might help you extract helpful information from today’s lesson.

  • As an individual contributor, C’s likely appreciate having the independence to get absorbed in analytical problem solving. When they move from being an individual contributor role to having more of a management / leadership role, it can catch the C off guard. 
  • People need praise, encouragement, and emotional support. The new, (result-focused) C manager will have to recognize that you get better performance out of people and better teamwork when they are attentive to these needs

Here is a little more So What?  The “So What?” is to remember these assumptions are driving your behavior, your thoughts, and your emotions. Become consciously aware of them so that you can make decisions and choices in a more deliberate, intentional, and responsible fashion.

Now, go be that Accurate, Stable, Challenging, and “Do It Right” Conscientious Style.  The world needs more present, aware, and responsible C’s.

I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of DiSC®, especially the Conscientious 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.

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