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Difference Between Personality Tests and DISC Assessments

Personality Tests vs DISC Reports

We are often asked about the difference between a personality test and a DISC behavioural assessment. Some companies interchange the two terms, essentially implying they have the same meaning. However, there is a difference! However, there is a difference! Personality tests (also known as personality profiling) analyse an individuals personality and a DISC assessment typically measures behaviour. Advanced DISC tools usually measure both conscious and unconscious behaviour.

What is Personality?

The American Psychological Association defines personality as the “individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.” Personality tests describe who an individual really is based on their thoughts, feelings and behaviours and indicate their basic tendencies

Personality Tests measure quantifiable characteristics on a scale. An individual's result for a specific characteristic is measured against patterns of normality, usually represented as a bell curve. For example, how assertive is this individual in comparison with the rest of the population or group? 

In business, personality tests allow individuals to be compared to other employees who have met with success or failure in a job.

What is Behaviour?

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, behaviour encompasses are the way we react or respond to external stimuli in our environment. These behaviours also contribute to the make-up of our personality.

DISC based assessments report on an individual’s strengths or behaviours that use the least energy and most energy. They indicate how an individual prefers to respond to problems, people, work environment and procedures.

DISC based assessments are effective when used for personal development, coaching, team building and interpersonal conflict resolution.

Extended DISC Theory on Behaviour

Our behaviours can be divided into different layers, the most important are:

1. Conscious Behaviour

Conscious behavior is our learned behaviour that relates directly to a situation or people involved. It combines perceived requirements and inner behavioral motivation. It is our determined, best possible approach to stimuli. At this level we consciously adjust our behaviour to different environments. This adjust, if far from our natural behavioural style, can sometimes cause us to operate under extreme amounts of stress or pressure due to big adjustment.

2. Unconscious Behaviour

Unconscious Behaviour is the way we prefer to respond to a stimulus and how we naturally express ourselves. The behaviour at this level is the most natural for us, it is the style we use the most and it also requires the least energy. Besides being a behavioural style we most often use, it is also the style we use when we have the least control of ourselves, like under pressure or in a situation when we need to respond fast.

3. Behavioural Filters

Behavioural filters are distinctly individual. They can be utilised and changed quickly. The most important Behavioural Filters are; attitudes, values, skills, knowledge, experience, physical condition and mental condition.

4. Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage represents all that we have adopted during our lives. It includes the cultural norms, values, ethics and morals of our culture that we've learned and experienced. It is something in our inner self that we are not even fully aware of. It is tacit by nature, we cannot transfer it to anyone else.

All DISC Tools are Different

Most DISC tools only measure a person’s adjusted behavioural style. This is often referred to as your role style or the style you feel you need to emphasise in order to succeed. The adjusted style changes as your roles change.

The difference between Extended DISC and other DISC tools is its ability to also report on your natural style. This allows the assessments to measure behaviour at a deeper unconscious level to exclude the impact of the environment. Your natural style identifies who you actually are, rather than how you are adjusting to your current environment. This allows you to recognise your true strengths and development areas to enhance your performance.

One client said, “DISC measures who shows up on the first date and Extended DISC measures who you are in a relationship 5 years later”.

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