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DiSC vs MBTI Assessments

Both DISC and MBTI are assessment tools that provide insight into personality and behavior. For many years DISC distinguished itself as a behavioral assessment instrument however, it is hard to argue that DISC is not a personality assessment when it focuses on preferences, priorities and motivations. It is now widely accepted that DISC is also a personality assessment. Both are widely respected and used by individuals, organizations, institutions and corporations worldwide. There are, however, a few noteworthy differences between DISC and MBTI:

  1. The DISC assessment is shorter in length than MBTI (typically 24-30 questions for DISC versus up to 90 questions for most MBTI tests). Wiley’s version of DiSC uses adaptive testing which is taking advantage of technology in the world of psychological assessments.

  2. MBTI sorts individuals into 16 four-letter types.

    • Extraversion (E)/ Introversion (I) – Extraverted types learn best by talking and interacting with others. Introverted types prefer quiet reflection and privacy.

    • Sensing (S)/ Intuition (I) – Sensing types enjoy a learning environment where the material is presented in a detailed, sequential manner. Intuitive types prefer a learning atmosphere where an emphasis is placed on meaning and associations.

    • Thinking (T)/ Feeling (F) – Thinking types desire objective truth and logical principles and are natural at deductive reasoning. Feeling types place an emphasis on issues and causes that can be personalized while they consider other people’s motives.

    • Judging (J)/ Perceiving (P) – Judging types will thrive when information is organized and structured, and they will be motivated to complete assignments in order to gain closure. Perceiving types will flourish in a flexible learning environment in which they are stimulated by new and exciting ideas.

MBTI descriptions describe participants with 4 letters, (ISTJ, ENFP, INTP, ENFJ, etc.). The challenge with MBTI descriptions is reflected in surveys following exposure to MBTI. As recent as 6 months following an MBTI assessment, participants had difficulty recalling their letters and the associated descriptors. Without this knowledge, it is difficult to apply the knowledge or utilize the tool. MBTI seems to lack the perceptiveness of some other assessments such as DISC.

  • DISC focuses primarily on four dominant behavioral types:

    • Dominance – These are forceful, take-charge people: direct, decisive, determined and often domineering. They’re born leaders who are neither shy nor subtle.

    • Influence – The friendly, enthusiastic High “I” styles want to be in the middle of the action, whatever and wherever it is. They most value admiration, acknowledgement and applause.

    • Steadiness – Steady styles are the most people-oriented of the four styles. Having close, friendly relationships is one of their highest priorities.

    • Conscientiousness – “C” styles are analytical, persistent, independent and well organized. They prefer to work quietly alone, emphasizing accuracy and “correctness.”

While some respondents can may have only one of the letters (representing styles), most people are a combination of two letters, i.e. CD, IS, DI, etc. DISC is generally considered to be more perceptive in its application. This makes for easier use and application in the workplace.

  1. MBTI assumes that personality is fixed and unlikely to change, while DISC is more open to the possibility that different situations and environments might bring out different behavioral traits in an individual.

  • MBTI is largely an indicator of how people think internally. DISC measures how personality translates to external behavior. Thus the reason DISC may have been initially considered more a behavioral instrument at the onset.

  1. Generally speaking, MBTI is a good assessment instrument for the individual looking for self-awareness. MBTI results tend to be very personal and typically reveal a great deal about an individual’s inner self. Although this may sound like an advantage over DISC, this can, in fact, also be a weakness. Because MBTI is so deeply personal and is based on a large amount of revealing data from the extensive MBTI questionnaire, people who take the MBTI may often feel uncomfortable sharing their results with others. This can inhibit ‘sharing’ information about one’s style and reduces the benefits of learning about one another. Perhaps it is better equipped to utilize personally and not as well in team environments.

Also, with 16 different personality types and acronyms that are often confusing, MBTI language often fades from the memory of the casual user very quickly. MBTI test-takers are often unable to retain useful information from their personality profile.

  • DISC alternatively, offers many (if not all) of the advantages of MBTI, towards self-awareness, however presents the information in a neutral manner which makes sharing of information less threatening or invasive. The simple acronym “DISC” is easy to remember, (intuitive) and, therefore, tends to ‘stick’ much longer and leaves a lasting impression on users. It’s typical for individuals taking the DISC assessment to remember their results years after taking the initial assessment.

Because the DISC assessment is specific to whatever environment you have in mind when taking the assessment, (work or home), the results tend not to be as intimate or personal as MBTI. It’s easier for individuals taking the DISC assessment to share their results.

Caveat: As a facilitator of Everything DiSC, our opinion is albeit bias. However, please note that as an organization we have the opportunity to present to our clients either assessment or for matter any other assessment. Perhaps like you we made the decision to utilize DISC and our clients have since re-affirmed the decision.

Here are our reasons for utilizing Wiley’s Everything DiSC:

  • People remember DISC long after they hear about it. Other models, such as MBTI, are more difficult to recall. It is hard to apply what you cannot remember.

  • DISC is easy to apply and is less theoretical than MBTI. Both are solid instruments for their own purposes and equally widely used.  In the workplace, we find that DiSC is the better instrument for promoting teamwork and communication. MBTI might have as good or better use as a personal development instrument.

  • DISC can easily be visualized with the use of a circumplex with quadrants. And thus, DISC can be illustrated in a way that is easily recognizable and easy to understand. However, DISC is not so simplistic that it cannot yield in-depth insights; with Wiley’s use of the most updated research and technology (think adaptive testing), the results DiSC produces can be profoundly accurate. MBTI may be helpful, but difficult to diagram in a simple manner.

  • DISC is not just for self-understanding; it provides a framework to understand others and adjust how you relate to them. DISC is contextualized so that the participant understands themselves relative to others.

  • MBTI is also helpful in this regard. However, to effectively apply the MBTI model for two people, you would then need to remember the right combination of eight letters for both individuals and then attempt to figure out the implications on your relationship. 

Comparison Between StrengthsFinder and DiSC Personality Tool

What are the primary purposes of the two models – StrengthsFInder and DiSC?

▸DISC is designed to measure an individual’s priorities, which then translate into behavioral tendencies

▸DISC is both a descriptive and prescriptive tool; it is a tool for dialogue, not diagnosis.

▸CliftonStrengths is only a developmental tool, yet is designed to measure the presence of talents that can be productively applied in a given situation.

Strengthsfinder vs DISC how were the two assessments developed?

▸ The CliftonStrengths was designed based on a 30- year study of the innate talents found in people. The StrengthsFinder assessment tool is a more recent instruments developed in 1998.

▸The DISC has a history that began as a theoretical model proposed by Dr. William Moulton in his 1928 book, Emotions of Normal People. It was refined into an assessment tool by Walter Clarke 30 years later which is the basis of the instrument that we know today.

Strengthsfinder vs DISC how are the two tests administered?

▸DISC and Clifton Strengths both self-reported assessments

▸User reads a series of words/statements and selects what best describes him/her

▸Both tests completed online

Strengthsfinder vs DISC. How accurate are the two tests?

▸The reliability and validity of both assessments are high.

▸DISC assessments are contextualized, while Clifton Strengths assessment is not.

▸As both instruments are self-reported measurements, both require a certain degree of honesty to be accurate. It is presumed that because the participant is paying to take the assessment, they will be honest to benefit from the assessment

DISC vs Strengthsfinder for team productivity

▸DISC model facilitates greater team productivity as it helps people understand the way their team members work and reason and helps team members leverage each other’s strengths. The result is that it reduces friction within the team, increases collaboration

▸StrengthsFinder also facilitates greater team productivity and gives people a language to understand unique differences. DISC also provides a common language to discuss differences (and similarities) between individuals.

▸Both helps teams leverage on each other’s strengths

Strengthsfinder vs DISC for growing self-awareness

▸Both tools help users to build greater self-awareness which is important in furthering emotional intelligence.

▸Both also help users identify possible blind spots

Strengthsfinder vs DISC for building relationships

▸ DISC is a prescriptive and descriptive tool intended to promote conversation, so it is excellent for getting quick, solid handles for personal development.

▸StrengthsFinder as a personal developmental tool is neither prescriptive or descriptive in nature

▸While more complicated than the DISC initially, Strengthfinder may go deeper into the subtleties of intrinsic motivations, preferences. DISC’s value is in some part its functionality due to straight forward simplicity.

Strengthsfinder vs DISC for developing leaders

▸DISC provides a comprehensive leadership-specific report containing intuitive, actionable components for growth

▸StrengthsFinder also provides a comprehensive leadership-specific report with personalized, actionable components for growth

Strengthsfinder vs DISC for hiring and recruitment

▸Both tools help human resource functions and recruiting managers get a sense of what the candidates may be like in work situations

▸Neither tool is *meant for pre-interview screening or selection* as they do not account for prior experience, skillsets, or alignment with the organization’s vision

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