DiSC® - Understanding the DC (Dominant / Conscientious) Style

Posted by Bill Harshman on


This lesson begins our increased understanding of not just the four quadrants with which we are already familiar, rather an understanding how changing proximity (distance to a neighboring style) within a particular quadrant yields a result which identifies a separate, unique DiSC® style.  Today’s focus is on the DC (Dominant- Conscientious) style.  As 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.


Where did this come from?

As the DiSC® has evolved and become totally computer based, the algorithms showed a much more robust capability to plot your “dot” very specifically within one of the four quadrants.  Research showed that the analysis and weighting of the results placed the same styles in various places of a given quadrant.  Simply put, the result was different degrees of the same style and slightly differing preferences and priorities.

What’s in this for the learner?

This lesson will be helpful if you haven’t taken the DiSC®, don’t know your DiSC® style, OR if you are a style other than DC. 

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.

Quick summary of the DC style

Let’s start with what we know.  We already know a couple basics about the DC style that resides within the Dominant quadrant.  This quadrant - including the DC style - has a PACE of Faster & Outspoken, combined with an AGREEABLENESS quotient of Questioning & Skeptical (result-focused).  And, the brief list of (observable behaviors) descriptors still includes:  Direct, Firm, Strong-willed, Forceful, and Results-oriented.  From our model, we also know that the DC style priorities differ slightly from the D and include Challenge, Results, & Accuracy.  As we proceed in this lesson, you’ll notice one or more of these priorities identified in our DC candidate.  Refer to our blog titled, “EVERYTHING DiSC WORKPLACE® PROFILE - The 8 Priorities“ to understand more about the priorities associated with the DiSC® styles, specifically the DC.

The thrust of this lesson is around the priorities and qualities that tie those aforementioned descriptors together.  Let’s begin by examining the DC priorities.

Style Priorities

Priorities (listed around the circumference of the model) are the primary areas where people focus their energy depending on their DiSC® style.  Everyone has at least three priorities; some have four to five.  Having more is no better or worse than having three.  I’m sharing priorities from the Everything DiSC Workplace® Profile in this example. The Everything DiSC Workplace® priorities are unique to you and based on your results.  Priorities simply help us understand how our style might be reflected in motivations and behaviors given real-life work scenarios.  The important thing to remember is that when things get foggy (such as when stress or uncertainty appear) we seek the priorities associated with our style.



Priorities of the DC Style:

  • Challenge – The DC wants to explore all options and make sure that the best possible methods are used. As a result, they may be very questioning and skeptical of other people’s ideas.  The DC is NOT afraid to challenge opinions and ask questions.
  • Results – The DC is often direct and straightforward. When they’re focused on the bottom line, they may overlook the feelings of others.  Other styles may have trouble relating to the DC‘s excessive drive for results.
  • Accuracy – The DC wants to control their work quality, work independently, and focuses on separating emotions from facts.

Just a note about priorities.  We see that all 3 styles within the D quadrant ( the DC, D, & Di) share the aforementioned “descriptors” of Direct, Firm, Strong-willed, Forceful, and Results-oriented.  AND, they each share the priority of Results.  However, as compared to the DC style, the Di style priorities are Action, Results, & Enthusiasm while the D style priorities are Results, Action, & Challenge.  It’s a subtle distinction, however this is part of what has been discovered through the enhanced computer algorithms and adaptive testing techniques, including clarifying questions or tie-breaker items.  Tie-breaker items are used when a person’s results place them equally between two styles.  Only about 6% of the assessment population ever generate these tie-breaker items.

Styles, Scales, & Qualities

Next, we consider the qualities of the DC style. These are similar to core needs mentioned in previous articles, however are LESS unconscious and MORE at the surface near conscious, observable behavior.  The qualities vary around the model and are represented in scales.  The DC scale qualities are mastery, invulnerability, and resistance.


Note:  Due to the pairings of styles to form a particular scale, you will notice that these dual-letter designations are shared with their neighboring dual-letter mirror.  For example, the DC/CD styles are physically paired together, and as such, they share style qualities.  Same is true of the Di/iD proximity, the iS/Si proximity, and the CS/SC proximity.  The result is eight DiSC® scales instead of 12 as expected.  We have 12 DiSC® styles = 8 DiSC® scales.  As we continue, you can consider the DC/CD styles as one scale.

Qualities of the DC/CD Style:

  • Mastery
  1.  hey have a strong need for competency, and their own sense of self-worth may be tied to their skills and problem-solving abilities. They typically pride themselves on their critical thinking and common sense, especially around others they see as lacking those qualities.
  2. They have high standards for themselves and others, and they can be frustrated by people and systems that don’t live up. At times, they may give off a judgmental vibe.  It’s almost as if incompetence itself is offensive to them.
  3. Their desire for mastery often gives them a real tenacity and a strong determination to overcome obstacles.
  • Invulnerability
    1. Because they expect life to be tough, they usually avoid making themselves vulnerable. If the world through their eyes is antagonistic, it makes sense to be guarded.
    2. They have a strong sense of self-sufficiency, feeling that reliance on others can put them at risk. There’s also an intense drive to overcome their own perceived weaknesses or inferiority.  They avoid situations that could make them look foolish or incapable.
    3. They may also be skeptical of public displays of sentimentality, which can seem manipulative to them. Sentimentality may involve too much vulnerability for their taste.
  • Resistance
    1. Because they’re more likely to see their environment as hostile or corrupt, they often have a fundamental tendency toward resistance. They may pride themselves on not caving to social pressure or not accepting inferior ideas and policies.  Their skepticism makes them resist accepting anything at face value.
    2. They may be the first to notice problems and speak up about them; they’re often willing to challenge entire systems that seem inefficient or unfair.


So What?

Let’s go back to that cornerstone principle referenced at the beginning of the lesson:  “Everyone is a unique blend of all DiSC® styles.”  This principle encompasses many behaviors, preferences, and priorities which make up a person’s overall character.

The “So what?” is to appreciate that unique blend generated from your DiSC® results by understanding the individual qualities as expressed by attitudes, character traits, and physical and mental activities.  Everyone has them, and they can be good or bad.  However, let’s make it a point to remember one’s DiSC® qualities as well as one’s DiSC® style to increase awareness and improve communication.

I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of DiSC®, especially the DC 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. We have several Everything DiSC® assessments to help you craft individual and team solutions, including (click for description):


·         WORKPLACE®

·         AGILE EQ™


·         WORK OF LEADERS®

·         MANAGEMENT

·         SALES

    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, or if you would like a PDF sample of any of the assessments listed above, 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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