The DiSC profile has been around for almost 100 years in various forms. It was developed into a personality profile using assessment in the 1950s and has continued to evolve since then.
It is a fairly straightforward and easy to use model. You have the four quadrants:
Most people score some in two to three quadrants, maybe all four. But what the assessment looks for is where your scores are highest. For example, someone who is very outgoing, life of the party, loud and charismatic is likely a “High I” and if they are also very strong willed and direct, they probably have a good bit of “D” so they would be an “iD” but if they were not so direct and were more steady and supportive, they would be an “iS”
There are some interesting additional points to note on the diagram (pictured above) in that the top two quadrants tend to be extroverted while the bottom two tend to be more introverted. The left side quadrants tend to be more task oriented while the right side quadrants tend to be more relationship oriented. Therefore, someone who is a “high I” is an extrovert who is people/relationship orientented whereas a “high C” is likely a task oriented introvert.
I find the greatest strength of assessments like this one lies in helping us to understand that we are wired differently from each other and just because someone is very different from me, that does not mean they are wrong. I am an “iS” and I will approach a problem in a very different way than a “CD” would. But that doesn’t make either of us wrong.
Understanding how these general categories affect people has helped me to understand people so much better and it also helps me to be a better communicator with all types of people. For more info on this type of personality assessment, check out the book below, The Four People Types: And What Drives Them by Steven Sisler. It uses some different language but it is based on DiSC and makes it very easy to incorporate helpful principles into your every day life.
The Enneagram (En-ee-uh-gram). This one is probably my favorite but also the hardest to describe. It’s basically an ancient personality typing system that has become popular over the last 10 to 20 years.
The word enneagram means a geometric figure with nine points or the figure inscribed within a regular nine-sided polygon. (Merriam-Webster)
That’s the definition of the word. But to define the capital E Enneagram is a bit trickier. So I’m going to the same source as above because I like the concise definition by Merriam-Webster:
Enneagram: a system of classifying personality types that is based on a nine-pointed starlike figure inscribed within a circle in which each of the nine points represents a personality type and its psychological motivations (such as the need to be right or helpful) influencing a person‘s emotions, attitudes and behavior.
What I love most about exploring the Enneagram is that it gives practical suggestions for how to grow and be a healthier human depending on which Enneagram number you are. So rather than just stopping at, “Congratulations, you’re a Seven,” it tells you what things sevens tend to struggle with, what pitfalls to watch out for and what some helpful focus opportunities are to move to a healthier place as a seven.
It also gives some practical insight into different pairings. For example, I think my husband is a six and I’m a nine, which it turns out is a very popular pairing. On the Enneagram institute’s website it says of sixes and nines:
This is one of the most stable and most common relationships. Although both types are very different, they want rather similar things—security and predictability (Sixes) and stability and autonomy (Nines). They both want their lives to be built on solid, dependable values and for good, honest work to be rewarded…This couple gets along well, greasing each other's wheels and adding just enough gas to the mix to keep them moving forward together. Change, when it comes, is slow and methodical. Both tend to see themselves as simple, regular people and do not feel special or exempt in any way. Both bolster the other's confidence through their solidarity with each other. They are generous with each other and do not crowd the other or make special demands. When they find a relationship such as this, it usually feels like they have found what their heart has been seeking and their dream has come true.
But it also says:
Since Sixes and Nines find it very difficult to say what is actually on their minds (and what they really want for themselves), there is a great tendency in this relationship to clam up, to be silently stubborn and defensive, and to make the other person guess what is going on. If there is little motive to do so, the two parties will fall into a stalemate that keeps the other at arm's distance, yet close enough so that the other will not drift away.
Can you see how such information would be helpful? There is soooo much to learn in this personality system. I’ll list some of my favorite resources below:
The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People by Elizabeth Wagele and Renee Baron. This is a light-hearted look at the Enneagram that will give you a good idea if this is something you want to research more.
The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron. This book was my first introduction to the Enneagram and I think it is one of the most accessible books on the subject. It’s deep enough that you really gain a strong understanding of what the Enneagram is and how it works but it’s written in a way that doesn’t feel to academic or stuffy. I also love Ian’s podcasts. Road Back to You and Typology. Both are worth checking out!
The above mentioned Ian Morgan Cron recently did a podcast on his Typology show that lists 25 of his favorite Enneagram Resources. That’s really a great place to start if you want some recommendations for diving into the Enneagram. But make sure you have a pen and paper handy or your phone notes because he lists the resources very quickly and I can’t find show notes anywhere.
MBTI (Meyers Briggs)
This personality typing system is extremely popular in corporate circles, much like DiSC, because it can be determined pretty easily by multiple choice assessments and the basic idea of it tends to be easy to understand. Although, I have a feeling it’s most often used in a more surface level and if people dove into the real meat of the system they would benefit from it at a much deeper level.
Still, it’s used widely by companies to “type” people so they can learn how to better communicate with their co-workers and so that management can better understand how to motivate and encourage their staff.
You can see from my diagram above, Meyers Briggs deals in eight different personality characteristics which are split into four “either/or” categories:
Energy (Where do you get yours from?)
Information (How do you process it?)
Decisions (How do you make them?)
Lifestyle (How do you see the world around you?)
For each of those four categories there are two options:
Introversion vs Extraversion
Sensing vs Intuition
Thinking vs Feeling
Judging vs Perceiving
You’ve probably heard the initials used to type people bandied about before: “Are you an INFP? I’m an ESTJ.” I will admit this is the system I know the least about. I’ve taken several online assessments and usually end up in the INFP column which means I lean toward Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving. And I feel like that’s a pretty accurate assessment of my leanings. The problem is I’ve never taken the time to dig into the deeper level of the MTBI so I don’t really know where to go from there. I know I’m an INFP but I don’t necessarily know what that means for me.
What should I work on? What should I strive for? What should I watch out for? I don’t know. This is not the fault of the Meyer’s Briggs System. It lands squarely on my shoulders for my lack of research. But it is a very widely used typing system so I wanted to include it here, even though I don’t have a deep knowledge of it.
For more information, Check out this book: What Type Am I? Discover Who You Really Are by Renee Baron…it’s on my list of ones to read and I’d love it if you read it too and tell me what you think. I’m told this is a great introductory book on Meyers Briggs that doesn't get too academic (read: boring).
My sister first introduced me to the StrengthsFinder model over five years ago and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I think it saved our relationship. We’ve always interacted with the world in different ways and it was hard for us to understand the other’s choices but we really wanted to get along, even though it was hard for us at times. So when she asked me to be a guinea pig for a new program she was heading up at work, one that seeks to help you identify and utilize your natural strengths, I was all in.
She directed me to the $15 Clifton Strengths Finder online test that would reveal my top five strengths. (I’ve since found out my top ten). I took the test and then she reached out to go over the results.
With my Top Five Strengths consisting of Empathy, Strategic, Communication, Developer & Activator (and throwing the rest of my top ten in there as pictured above), it wasn’t a surprise to me that I have zero strengths in the Execution column and very few (only one actually) in the Strategic Thinking column. My strengths very obviously lie in relationships as they are highly concentrated in the Relationship Building and Influencing columns. What I learned was that I need to utilize my strengths to help me in the areas I’m not strong.
For example, because I have trouble with execution, rather than trying to increase my Achiever, Discipline or Focus strengths to become a better executor, I can utilize my relationship skills, by incorporating some accountability from others to motivate me to get things done.
What we learned about each other was so eye opening that for the first time, we truly understood each other. We could see why, with our particular strengths, we had been mis-reading each other for years. Understanding that she processes aloud and is very deliberative in her decision making process, where I tend to process quickly, act first and then ask questions later, helped us see where we were missing it with each other. I would be trying to help her because she was processing aloud which sounded to me like a request for help. But she just didn’t want help…she was just processing so it felt to her like I was taking over and making her decisions for her. Understanding each other has been so healing for us.
StrengthsFinder has an online assessment that is very accurate and will tell you your top 5 of the 34 strengths they assess. It’s a very robust report that not only tells you your top five but also tells you how those top five interact with each other to give you a very individualized picture of your strongest attributes. You can go directly to the website and purchase the online test for $19.99 or you can buy the book on amazon for $14.59 which comes with an access code to take the online test. (I’m no mathematician but…I’m thinking the amazon book route is the way to go!)
Also, my sister, Sarah, is certified to evaluate and coach you from your top five test results so if you’re interested in some one-on-one coaching, click below to send me a message and get more info.