Responding to the "C" Style - Conscientious

Posted by Bill Harshman on

Sometimes we are left speechless after interactions with others. It might be the information being shared; however, it is often the tone of the message that puts us off. Being familiar with the DISC styles will help you be able to respond and keep communication moving forward, whether in person, by phone, text, or email. Understanding yourself better is the first step to becoming more effective when working with others. For illustration’s sake, we will assume the specific style being discussed is that person’s PRIMARY (high) style. Today’s blog is dedicated to the primary style of “C” or Conscientious.

 Conscientious                    DISC Conscientious    

In previous blogs, we learned about our TWO foundational aspects of the DISC styles: Pace & Priority. Per the model above, the Conscientious (C) style has a deliberate PACE (similar to the S or Steady style) and tends to be reserved and modest. Other descriptors of a high C might include exacting, analytical, factual, precise, accurate, and private. The C’s PRIORITY is task-oriented (versus people-oriented) and prefers following procedures (versus not).  C’s share a task orientation with D’s (Dominant).

Let me share a simple exchange. A high “C” is approaching an elevator with a couple other riders. The “C” politely and quietly takes their place on the elevator. That’s the “C” being reserved, indirect, and task oriented. However, once inside, the “C” peers over at the maintenance document on the wall of the elevator and checks the certification date to make sure it’s current.

Similar scenario, however, now the “C” is joined by several others. Again, the “C” peers over at the maintenance document, but THIS time checks the “Maximum Capacity” rating and then quickly counts the number of people and approximates their total weight. Realizing the estimate is at or near the capacity, the “C” calmly says, “Excuse me”, exits the elevator and takes the stairs. Nothing personal. It’s just the “C” style.

Don’t let the simplicity of this scenario fool you. The same awareness applies to other types of communication (phone, face-to-face, text, or email).

The following are examples of “C” communication (verbal and nonverbal) and the appropriate response.

C Voice mail - Opens with a formal, detailed, and serious tone and usually leaves full name and date/time of call. Usually states the reason for the call. Their message is detailed, clear, complete, and may sound like an agenda. Minimal inflection, humor, or social comment.  Response: Provide specifics, data, and confirmation. Most of all, stay on task with what they are requesting.

C Handshake is usually formal. They have sparse eye contact (possibly none when in an elevator with strangers). They exhibit deliberate gestures and prefer distance between others when sitting.  Response: Mirror the calm, patient, and formal gesture.  Appreciate their accurate style and provide them the opportunity to analyze options rationally and separate emotions from facts.

C Emails (and texts) are noticeably detailed, less social, and very clear.  Their message is complete, accurate, and factual. Response: As with the voice mail, provide specifics, data, and confirmation.  The C’s goal is to get the communication exchange done right.

Regardless of the communication type, it’s important to understand that C’s prefer ensuring accuracy, maintaining stability, and challenging assumptions. They are uncomfortable with quick or risky decisions and prefer an informed choice. They do better without criticism, slipshod methods, or being wrong. You will serve C’s best by offering opportunities to use their expertise or gain knowledge and respecting their attention to detail and quality.

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 complimentary webinar (online) for your team or organization, please send an email to  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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