DISC Test: What Is the D, I, & S or Persuader Personality Type?

5 min min read
Updated on August 17, 2021
DISC Test: What Is the D, I, & S or Persuader Personality Type?

What is the DISC test?

The DISC test is a self-administered, self-scoring personality assessment of how a person responds in predictable ways to time, tasks, and other situations at home and at work.

Technically, the DISC test is not a ‘test’ because you won’t pass or fail when writing it.  There are no right or wrong answers, and there is no bad or good score.  Everyone is a mix of all four personality dimensions, and each mix is equally valuable.

While the DISC test provides insight into a person’s interaction with their environment, there are things that it does not measure.  Some of these include a person’s:

  • Intelligence
  • Morality/character
  • Levels of ambition or motivation
  • Self-esteem or lack of it

What are the origins of the DISC test?

Personality testing is not a new concept.  The word ‘personality’ itself comes from the Latin word ‘persona’ which referred to the masks worn by stage actors in Greek theatre.  These masks helped the audience identify which character played the tragic figure, which was the hero (or heroine), which was there for comic effect, and which was the antagonist.

The first recorded use of four quadrants of personality comes from Empedocles in the 5th century BC.  Hippocrates in the 4th century BC believed that the four personality characteristics came from four fluids within our bodies.  Galen (2nd century AD) first came up with the terms choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic and sanguine to describe the four dimensions of human personality.

1928 was the year when William Marston published his landmark book “Emotions of Normal People.”  Marston was a lawyer and a psychologist; he also contributed to the first polygraph test, authored self-help books, and even created the character “Wonder Woman!”

Industrial psychologist Walter Clark developed these ideas into the first DISC profile in 1956. Clark created the ‘Activity Vector Analysis,’ a checklist of adjectives on which he asked people to indicate descriptions that were accurate about themselves.  The assessment was intended to be used by employers trying to find qualified employees.

What does DISC stand for?

In 1928, William Marston would label the four personality types:

  • D: Dominant
  • I: Influential
  • S: Steady
  • C: Compliant

Based on administering personality assessments to approximately 10,000 people over a 25-year span, gettingpeopleright.com updated these four categories to:

  • D: Dominant
  • I: Inspiring
  • S: Steady
  • C: Conscientious

These categories have been updated to better reflect Marston’s original theory and are also more in step with modern culture.  Few people today wish to self-identify as ‘compliant’ for instance.  Nor is the ‘S’ personality type necessarily steady in all circumstances.

An overview of the D, I, & S personality type

Your unique genius:  You get results by building strong relationships!

Brief description:

Persuaders are dependable, assertive, proactive, warm, and self-reliant.  They have a unique combination of patience and proactivity that make them effective facilitators, and persuaders.  They are warm and well-liked, competitive and results-focused.  They are independent and drive towards reaching their goals.  They are also creative and use their imagination to build positive relationships and to motivate people around them.  Since they are low in the conscientious personality type, they rarely display the thoroughness and attention to detail found in the C type.


  • Dependable
  • Socially skilled
  • Patient
  • Warm
  • Interesting and fun
  • Driven to achieve
  • Self-reliant


  • Attention to detail
  • Doing a complete and thorough job
  • Lose objectivity when immersed in a personal relationship
  • Can come on too strong for other’s taste

Judges others by: How much they value relationship, how committed they are to achieving results

Motivated by: Achieving results by combining imaginative ideas with strong relationship building skills

Under pressure: Try harder, become aggressive and forceful, feel stressed, and may take things personally

Fears: Losing closeness in relationship, not achieving goals

Possible work fits: Executive, marketing, sales, department head, entrepreneur, team leader

To increase effectiveness:

  • Get help managing detail
  • Be careful not to lose objectivity in close work relationships
  • Develop personal boundaries to avoid feeling hurt and disillusioned
  • Take regular breaks to avoid burnout
  • Relieve stress through exercise and other recharge activities

How is the DISC personality test used?

The DISC personality test is used for a variety of purposes including:

  • Learning how to communicate better with others
  • Understanding the motivations of others
  • Hiring the right person for the right job
  • Coaching people to recognize their natural areas of strength and weakness
  • Self-reflection and personal growth

Summary of the DISC Test

In summary, the DISC tool is a reliable, simple way to:

  • Enhance communication on your team
  • Increase your knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses
  • Learn the strengths and weaknesses of those around you
  • Understand the motivations of yourself and others
  • Improve success in hiring and promotion
  • Dramatically increase your effectiveness working with people

The DISC tool is simple, easy to use, and highly effective. Complete it here for free:


Related Resources

Certificate in Leadership Fundamentals Starts at $499

Access to 10 of Getting People Right’s Flagship Courses:

  • Discovering and implementing core values
  • Enhancing your career through delegation
  • Building a one-page strategic business plan
  • Coaching based performance reviews
  • Using DISC Personality testing at work and home
  • Dealing with under performers
  • Learning the process to hire a-players
  • How to fire with minimum pain and drama
  • Objectively assessing your team
  • Building your personal annual plan
Start Learning Today