DiSC® - Stressors & Motivators of the i (Influence) Style

Posted by Bill Harshman on

Our topic today is “Stressors & Motivators of the i (Influence) 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’ve 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:


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 4 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 i (Influence) style.

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

Generating Enthusiasm.  You maintain a positive, upbeat attitude, and tend to assume the best in people and look at the bright side of any given situation.  You have a stronger than normal urge to process your feelings by verbalizing them.

Taking Action. You like excitement and fast movement, preferring to hit the ground running while encouraging others to keep up with you.

Valuing Collaboration.  You’re friendly and outgoing and may even have a difficult time understanding people who would rather work independently.  You believe collaboration leads to better outcomes and will make the job more fun.

Remember the i motto?  Let’s Have Fun

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

  1. The i style has a need for connection. It helps give their lives meaning.  Threats to this sense of connection will be particularly challenging for the i.  This may scare them and affect their behavior.
  2. The i style has a need for expression. This translates to externalizing the thoughts and emotions that are wandering around in their brain.  They also want to get those ideas heard and acknowledged by another human.
  3. The i style has a need for stimulation. This is especially relative to the average person.  People with the i style are particularly tuned to rewards in the environment.  When the i walks into a social gathering, instead of being embarrassed or awkward, they see all the possible rewards they could get out of this event. 
  4. The i style has a need to be wanted. This may seem a little sensitive, however this need to be wanted by other people centers around the human need to have value.

Be mindful that being an i style can come with tremendous self-expectations.  That might look like different aspects of “I’m valuable”:

  • because I make other people happy
  • if people want me
  • if people pay attention to me
  • as long as I don’t upset someone

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

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

Let me preface this list with the following general description:  As an Influence style, because you tend to be active and lively, you may find routine work to be very draining.  This may lead to more interest in starting new projects than following through on old / existing ones.  Environments that are dull or limit your expressiveness may also sap your energy.

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

  • Giving people unpleasant feedback
  • Being forceful or insistent with others*
  • Being isolated for long periods
  • Working steadily toward long-term goals
  • Being in a dull or unsocial environment
  • Being unable to use your intuition
  • Being forced to slow your pace*
  • Performing routine or systematic tasks*
  • Undertaking detailed analyses*

I want to extract 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, can you think of another style who prefers “Being forceful or insistent?” I’m hoping you included a D style in your response.
  • Or, are there other styles who prefer to work at a slower pace? Knowing what you do about the Basic DiSC® Styles Model, you see at least two styles are opposite of the faster-paced i   Those are C and S.
  • Which style prefers routine or systematic tasks? Routine, predictability, and orderly all define an S.
  • Which style is known for “undertaking detailed analyses?” The left end of Agreeableness continua is known as result-focused and includes the C

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 an i, you manage an i, or work alongside an i.

NOW, let’s take a look at environmental factors which might align with the i style tendencies and core needs.  Different people find different aspects of their work motivating.  As an Influence style, you probably enjoy situations that present new people and a variety of tasks.  Most likely, you prefer working in a high-energy environment alongside passionate people.

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

  • Meeting new people
  • Being the center of attention
  • Inspiring others to do their best
  • Initiating colorful projects
  • Being around people who are lively and charismatic
  • Getting people involved
  • Creating enthusiasm
  • Expressing yourself
  • Developing warm relationships

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

  • Where do i leaders do the best? Rallying other people to achieve goals and things like building enthusiasm.
  • Where do i leaders do the worst? Minimal human interaction / social environment.  Thriving in a “lonely at the top” role within a world of details, routines, and tasks with no ability to use their intuition.

An i might think:  “Whatever we do, let’s make sure we have fun”

Here’s a little more So What?  And, this is helpful whether YOU are an i, your peer is an i, your manager is an i, or a coworker is an i.  The “So What?” is to become consciously aware of them so that you can make decisions and choices in a more deliberate, intentional, and responsible fashion.

Now, go be an i Style.  The world needs more present, aware, and responsible i’s.

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.

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