Can I Change My Personality Style on Purpose?

When people ask us about the DISC model, DISC assessments, and how to apply the information, they often wonder:

“Can I change my personality style, my DISC profile, on purpose?”

The short answer is that you probably can’t change your basic (also called natural or internal) style.

What you can change are your behaviors that represent your adapted or external style. You can adjust the style you exhibit by your behaviors to better fit different situations.

The answer to the question can get complicated because people often confuse how they behave in a given situation with their natural style of behavior. This issues is related to another common question we get: Is there a best style?

If you’re asking if you can change your style on purpose or if there is a best style, you might be thinking things like: For me to be a better boss, I need to be more D. I need to be more dominant in my approach. While that may be true situationally, that doesn’t mean you have to “become D.”

You can you learn some of the in-control behaviors of people with the Dominant behavior style, and you can intentionally focus on task accomplishment. That might even be what you need to do for a given situation. If that’s true, should you adjust your behavioral style :Yes. Try to change your natural style: No.

In fact, you probably can’t change your natural, internal style.

You can learn some behaviors and flex your behaviors so that you can “put on” D, I, S, or C style behaviors as needed to achieve success based on the issue or circumstance you’re addressing. We believe that the ability to flex your external style is part of the value of learning the DISC model.

We believe that’s actually a valuable skill to learn.

The key idea is by learning to adjust your behaviors, you can be more successful in more situations.

For example, (Guy speaking) I have a lot of C traits. I’m not going to “become” a person with I traits. I can learn from my friends and colleagues who have I traits. I can learn to tell stories, to interact, to smile, to be friendly. I can learn behaviors that help me to be more successful with other people. I can learn to smile. It’s not natural though. I have to practice the behavior to get good at it.

I’m not however, going to magically “become” a person who naturally has I traits and perspectives. I can learn to understand how a person with I traits sees the world. That does not mean that the “I perspective” will become mine.

The point is that, we can learn from the strengths of others. Using the DISC model and what you learn from a DISC assessment gives you a way to objectively think about behaviors and interaction approaches in terms of behavioral style. The goal is not to “become” a person with a different style. Rather, the goal is to learn different approaches and behaviors from people who have different styles so that you can become more more successful in your interactions with all people.

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