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How Different Personalities Deal With Conflict By Dave Pill


The more I work with DISC, the more I love it.. and when you consider Ive been working with it since 1992 you have to realise, theres a whole lotta love!

I’ve seen first-hand how the different DISC types deal with everyday situations and it’s useful to acquire this knowledge before you get into interactions with people. Dealing with conflict in the workplace can be very challenging, especially when some people react with a passive-aggressive response. If it is not handled effectively or in some cases, not handled at all, it can become an ever growing cause for additional conflict, which in many cases can lead to low morale, staff churn, a lack of respect for the management or organisation, and sooner or later have a negative effect on the bottom line.

It is best to deal with conflict before it sets in but this is easier said than done for some styles. Having said that, even those who think they deal with these situations quickly and effectively often don’t - this can be a blind spot for them.

Dealing with conflict

A major cause of conflict is poor communication.

So often conflict is caused by a lack of understanding between individuals which is commonly a result of poor communication. Knowing an individual’s preferred style of communication through DISC, allows you to modify your preference to better suit the other person. When you understand how a person communicates is as a result of their ‘wiring’, there is a realisation that it is a preference rather than a personal attack. DISC profiling allows you to understand people in minutes instead of months…. or even years.

High-D's  (Outgoing & Task)

Prefer to sort things out right away - even if they haven’t got all the facts. They aren't afraid to confront other people directly if they think a situation calls for it. Whilst this approach suits other D-style, it can be extremely uncomfortable often unproductive if you are not a D and can be an additional cause of further conflict. DISC-aware Ds know this and develop the ability to modify the directness of their approach to achieve their desired outcome.

High-I’s   (Outgoing & People)

Tend to put off dealing with difficult situations in the hope they will solve themselves or just go away. I-Styles like to be liked and generally think dealing with conflict head on might affect their popularity. If the High-I absolutely has to deal with an issue they can often say things in such a ‘nice’ way, the message fails to land. I-Styles who understand DISC learn that they must be more direct and frequently develop a ‘respectfully’ direct style of communication which will resonate with the D-styles. They need to remember to let the S-Styles have the opportunity to speak and be logical, professional and orderly with the C-Styles.

High-S’s  (Reserved & People)

Typically, this style does not like conflict. They prefer to aim for a ‘win-win’ and like to negotiate in a calm, peaceful manner to ultimately achieve harmony. They often meet with those involved separately at first and then together if it is appropriate to do so in an attempt to resolve differences. Their aim is to encourage parties to explore potential solutions and find a mutually acceptable outcome. They do not respond well to the more outgoing or styles (they perceive as more ‘aggressive’). These styles may be equally frustrated with what they see as a slow/ ‘steady’ approach. DISC aware S-styles will understand the importance of the pace of delivery of information and will know to speed up and be respectfully direct with the D and I styles, slow down for other S-styles and give time for the C-styles to filter information and reflect before moving on.

High-C’s (Reserved & Task)

Like to collect and collate all the information before dealing with conflict situation. They generally do not go looking for conflict as it is not welcome and can make them uncomfortable. Having said that, if you are in conflict with a C-Style you had better be prepared… because they WILL be. They will probably have a paper trail and will apply formality and logic to a given situation. This approach will not resonate with the outgoing/more emotional styles and may be perceived as impersonal to the point of being cold. DISC aware Cs will modify their approach and become more relational for the I & S styles and filter the important facts when dealing with information for Ds.


As you see from this article, all DISC styles can deal with conflict but with varying degrees of comfort and success. Each style will have a preferred style of approach and communication but whatever the preference, having an understanding of how other people are wired through DISC will allow one to modify the approach and massively increase the chances of achieving a successful outcome.

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If you are interested in learning more about DISC personality profiling, follow the link below to the DISC Certification Workshop page and the DISC Accreditation Day page.

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For more info on DISC Certification Day, please follow this link: https://www.the-coaching-academy.com/discday/