DiSC® - Understanding the i (Influence) Style

Posted by Bill Harshman on

In today’s DiSC® lesson, we will discuss a deeper and broader understanding of the i or (Influence / Influential) style.  This will be helpful whether it is YOU who are an i style, or if it is someone else with whom you deal that is an i style.  Furthermore, AS an i, this will help you interact with another i.

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:

Basics Model 4

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.

I want to start with a definition of Influential that we are likely familiar with to help calibrate the reader and provide a common baseline of understanding as we proceed.  Oxford defines Influence as follows:  (of a person) the power to have an effect on people or things, or a person or thing that is able to do this.

I’d say that’s a pretty good starting point from our daily lives.  And for other words that may appeal to you, we go to the thesaurus:

  • authoritative
  • dominant
  • famous
  • important
  • leading
  • persuasive
  • prominent
  • significant

DiSC® will provide much more interpretation and meaning to this style label we call Influence / Influential.

Let’s look at an overview of the i style.  We already know the two continua which indicate an i style.  Now, lets see more descriptors which will help us understand better.

PACE: Fast-paced / Outspoken

AGREEABLENESSAccepting / Warm (people-focused)

  • Priorities include: Expressing enthusiasm, taking action, encouraging collaboration.  Motto?  “Let’s Have Fun”
  • Motivated by: social recognition, group activities, friendly relationships
  • Fears: social rejection, disapproval, loss of influence being ignored
  • Other descriptors: outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, high-spirited, lively
  • Limitations: Impulsiveness, lack of follow-through, disorganization

Here is an excerpt from an actual DiSC® Profile report.

You enjoy relating to others, and have a fairly extensive network of friends and colleagues.  A roomful of strangers does not daunt you.  You are able to promote your ideas and opinions with passion, unafraid to dial up your volume and gestures.  Your talkative nature can overshadow the soft-spoken.

You may tie your self-worth closely to your social circle, making favorable impressions whenever possible through story-telling and entertaining others.  You welcome new people and new ideas, seeking a variety of tasks on your plate.  You may start more projects than you complete.

Diving further into understanding a style, we need to look beyond simply observable behavior.  Wiley research identifies that each style also has core needs.  The core needs of an i include: 

  • Need for connection / connectedness. May respond negatively to a threat of this connection.
  • Need for expression. A need to externalize the thoughts and emotions in the brain.  To get the ideas out and also get them heard and acknowledged by another human being.  May “get lost” in a good conversation
  • Need for stimulation. Tuned in to the rewards an environment has to offer.
  • Need to be wanted. Don’t want to be opened up to regret for something they said

Your strengths as an i co-worker MAY include:

  • Working at a persistent pace
  • Being a teacher to peers on the team
  • Meeting new people easily and prefer networking with others
  • Having a positive sense of humor

Your limitations as an i co-worker MAY include:

  • Taking constructive criticism personally
  • Emphasizing people over productivity
  • Letting your people orientation interfere with quick decisions
  • Setting unrealistic time management goals

As an i you can improve effectiveness by:

  • Managing the balance between socialization and task
  • Increasing urgency in decision making
  • Avoid spreading yourself too thin by learning to say “no” more often

There’s much more to discover by taking the DiSC® Profile.  In future lessons, we’ll learn about:

  • Motivators & Stressors
  • How to connect with all 4 styles
  • Solving Problems with all 4 styles
  • Dealing with tension between all 4 styles
  • Three key strategies to deal with ALL types

As you may have sensed from other blogs and vlogs, I enjoy taking a fun look at ourselves through the lens of the DISC.

When it comes to food and the i :

  • The “i” entertains and has the latest kitchen gadgets but doesn’t necessarily use them.
  • The “i” wants to know what their friends are cooking for dinner

If an “i” had a personalized license plate, it might read:

  • LYFSGR8 - Life’s Great
  • SOSHABL - Sociable
  • LUVPPL - Love People
  • GRGRIUS - Gregarious
  • PPLCNXN - People Connection
  • LESHVFN – Let’s Have Fun

I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of DiSC® and specifically 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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