DiSC - Interaction Between Styles - C (Conscientious) with D (Dominant)

Posted by William Harshman on

In today’s blog, we look at someone with the primary style of C (Conscientious) interacting with an individual whose primary style is D (Dominant).

Conscientious with Dominant  C with D model 

As a C style, you thrive on ensuring accuracy, maintaining stability, and challenging assumptions.  The C style is motivated by opportunities to use expertise or gain knowledge combined with attention to quality.  To you, others with the D style may appear:

  • Self-confident
  • Competitive
  • Direct
  • Forceful
  • Risk-taking

The D is motivated by power & authority, competition, winning, and success.  NOTE:  We see from the overlaid PACE & PRIORITY grid above, the D has a faster & more outspoken PACE versus the cautious & reflective PACE of the C.  However, the C and the D SHARE a questioning & skeptical PRIORITY.  This might help you visualize (and be open to) the similarities and differences between the C and the D and what increased awareness might be helpful for successful interactions.

As a C, suppose you work with a D.  To you, that D style seems forceful, intense, demanding, and impulsive.  The D is usually well-respected by the organization as a go-getter who delivers on promises, and not likely to be too concerned with including everyone (similar to you, the C).  However, with your C focus on ensuring accuracy, maintaining stability, and challenging assumptions, you may become frustrated by the D’s risk-orientation, wanting to shake things up, and making bold decisions confidently.

To the C, the D may seem more concerned with getting immediate results and taking action.  While the C is focused precision and analysis, the D is self-confident and bold and can be unaware of how this approach can be stressful for people around them.

This has been our understanding with our long-time, 4-quadrant model.  Let’s take one more step toward deeper, broader understanding of DiSC® and interactions.  As you see from the Everything DiSC® model above, where you lie within a given DiSC® quadrant provides further, unique descriptors for the 12 styles.  Mind you, these 12 styles are built from the original 4-quadrant model with which you are probably familiar.  So, it’s not like learning a new language.  You are simply adding some new “words” to your existing vocabulary. 

Interaction example:  Our DiSC® assessment revealed that our two interacting individuals are the C and the D style, respectively.  As we learned in a previous blog, your actual, specific Everything DiSC® style is determined by two aspects; inclination and proximity.  Simply put, inclination is your location near or away from the center of the circular model.  You might think of this as intensity.  The closer to the center, the less intense (slight) and the closer to the outer circle, the higher the intensity (strong).  Proximity is your placement to the neighboring style.  So, in our example, upon closer examination, let’s assume that we actually have a (strong) C with equal proximity to neighboring styles and a (slight) Di (with a close proximity to the neighboring “i” and “C” quadrants.  We refer to this 2-letter result as “blended styles”.  So, in short we have “strong” C and a “slight” Di.

Strong C:  We know that the “pure” C style will probably take a logical, objective approach to ensure work accuracy.  You tend to be quite systematic, and may enjoy creating standards that help establish or improve efficiency.  Your desire to maintain control and stability may cause you to become annoyed when people don’t adhere to accepted rules and guidelines.  The C style tends to be quite cautious, wants to avoid mistakes, and you may be particularly hard on yourself for being wrong.  Our strong C has a dot closer to the outside edge which means they will have to expend MORE energy to stretch to behaviors outside their style.

Slight Di:  We know that the “pure” D style is motivated by power & authority, competition, winning, and success.  However, the closer proximity to the “i” quadrant shows up as adventurous and bold, and often seek out unique assignments and leadership positions.  While they are competitive, they can also use charm to persuade others to help them succeed.  With overuse of this Di style, they may be perceived as impatient, egotistical, and/or manipulative.  Note:  The slight Di is fairly centered and balanced on BOTH the PACE and the PRIORITY continua.  A person who has a dot closer to the inside edge (as is this Di) means they will have to expend LESS energy to stretch to behaviors outside their style.


DiSC® Humor:  C with D Road Trip

 The C gets in the car and says (without a greeting), “I brought the map . . . hardcopy AND digital.  Just got my 45,000-mile service yesterday.  The dealer includes the car detailing with service.  I just filled up for $4.599 per gallon.  At 33.7 miles per gallon on level highway, we should be getting gas again in 320 miles.  Based on my calculations, we should arrive in 4 hours 54 minutes”.  I’ll just check the map one more time before we begin.  Let me know ahead of time if you’re going to need to stop for anything.” 

The D gets in the car and thinks quietly, “I wish I was driving.  We’d get there faster”.

As a C, I hope this humorous exchange provides more insight into your style AND/OR the “D’s” in your world and provides a broader understanding as to “what makes for successful interaction.” 

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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