People Power - May 2006

By Scott Humphrey

“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.” So starts the song in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical The King and I. But can we really get to know all about someone? And is it worth the effort?

The answer to the first question: probably not. You can know someone to the degree that they reveal themselves to you. But gathering as much information as possible about each person you meet is definitely worth the effort. With practice you can better understand people and increase success in all your personal and professional relationships. 

In this article, I want to tell you about the four Behavioral Styles we use in the Shaw Learning Academy to help people relate better to each other. I’ll explain how those styles differ, and how you can use those differences to maximize every relationship. At the end of this article, I’ll tell you how you can go online to take your own behavioral profile.


You may recall that in my last article we discussed the DISC behavioral profile. According to the website, “DISC is the original, oldest, most validated, reliable, personal assessment used by over 50 million people to improve lives, interpersonal relationships, work productivity, teamwork, and communication.” One thing they forget to mention is that DISC is, in my opinion, also the simplest and easiest to understand and use.

It’s important to note that there is no right or wrong behavioral style. There are just different ones, and different styles are right for different occupations and situations.

Let’s begin with a general overview of the four styles:

“Do it my way now”

People who have the “D” behavioral style are extroverted, task oriented, and direct in their communication. They tend to talk and walk fast. They need to be in charge or at least have control over their own destiny. To micro-manage them is to suffocate them. They like to win and see results. They like and often seek out challenges. They have no problem being argumentative and often seem impatient. They want the key points only; too much detail bogs them down. In reality, they don’t hear much after the first three to five minutes of a conversation. They like and seek out change. They’re often found in roles of owner, manager, or leader. The emotion they are prone to is anger.

“Let’s do it together”

People with the “I” behavioral style are also extroverted and very people-oriented. They describe themselves as people persons. They love to talk, especially about themselves. When they talk they’re often enthusiastic and loud. They’re often described as the “life of the party.” People interaction energizes them, and they’ll become irritable if they can’t interact with people for an extended period of time. They have a need to be liked and because of this have a tendency to over-promise or over-commit. They’re not detail oriented and may struggle with follow through. They typically smile a lot and love to have fun. They know everybody, but typically have a very small group of intimate relationships where people really know them. The emotion they are prone to is optimism. 

“Everything will be alright”

The “S” behavioral style is best described as shy but friendly. They tend to talk slowly and in a low tone of voice. They move deliberately, slowly. They’re great on follow through because of their extreme desire to please. They’re very loyal. They have an inherent need to serve, which may lead them to overextend themselves. They remain calm when others overreact, and often place themselves in the position of peacemaker. They’re excellent listeners and prefer depth in a relationship to casual acquaintances. They love to talk about family. Change is not very comfortable for them, so they may need time or conditioning to accept it. There is no specific emotion to which they are prone. In my limited research, I found that upwards of 60% of the salespeople in retail floorcovering stores fall into this behavioral style type.

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right”

The “C” behavioral style is introverted, task-oriented and direct. They talk with little or no emotion and often speak in a quiet voice. They tend to walk fast and are aware of any obstacles in their path. They are very well organized and need hard data to be swayed. They are often known as perfectionists. They can appear aloof and often prefer to work alone. They will push back strongly against change unless they are involved in the decision making process. They tend to migrate toward occupations that are detail or numbers driven. Though they may not feel it, they are a vital part of any successful team. The emotion they are prone to is fear.

A great team encompasses people with each of these styles, working toward a common goal. Understanding the differences, strengths, and weaknesses in each of us can make a dramatic difference in our productivity, profitability, and peace of mind. Let me illustrate:

I married my childhood sweetheart. Like most people, I also married a person who shares my core values, but in many ways she’s my opposite. Psychologists say the reason we do this is that we seek out someone who completes us. For example: She’s detail oriented; I’m a big picture person. She’s slow paced and loves to talk; I’m fast paced and can be impatient. She’s laid back; I’m driven. When we dated I admired all of those differences. In reality I wished that I could be more like her in many ways.

But seven years into marriage I wasn’t admiring how laid back she was. As a matter of fact, seven years into marriage laid back was just late. I began to view those differences as something she was doing just to aggravate me. There was no doubt it was driving us apart. Then I asked my wife to take the DISC profile. It revealed our differences. I began to realize she wasn’t doing things to frustrate and aggravate me. She was doing those things because it was just as natural for her to be that way as it is for me to be who I am. When I understood that, I began to again appreciate our differences and use those differences to make our relationship even stronger. 

What value would you place on having stronger relationships? Learning the skills necessary to better understand people is intriguing and will only cost you a little time, but by using your knowledge of the four DISC behavioral styles you’ll better understand people and improve your personal and professional relationships.

If you’re interested in taking the DISC profile online and receiving a detailed report, please contact:

Gilbert A. De Armas Jr., Professional Mentor
Performance Development Systems
607 Miller St., Dalton, GA 30720

Gil is an adjunct faculty member of the Shaw Learning Academy.

Copyright 2006 Floor Focus Inc

Related Topics:Shaw Industries Group, Inc.