Your Guide to DISC Profiles & Personality Assessments


      Unlock the power to be a more successful leader & accomplish your goals.



      Self-awareness is essential to success. If you don’t understand what drives your actions and behaviors, it’s difficult to cultivate positive growth and real professional development. As you discover what inspires you, you can start to identify what may hold you back from success, as well as the traits, habits, and behaviors that propel you forward. When you take your free DISC personality assessment, you’ll be provided with a complete profile that shows you how to leverage the various aspects of your personality for a life of achievement that aligns with your personal values.

      The DISC personality profile is designed for anyone who wants to gain actionable insights about themselves. By enhancing self-knowledge and revealing the limiting beliefs that could be holding you back from achieving your goals, the DISC personality assessment can help you develop strategies to create a breakthrough in any area of your life.

      In most cases, a DISC profile assessment is used in a team-based setting. These DISC profiles create a common language that professionals, recruiting teams, C-suite decision-makers, and others can use to describe, evaluate, and understand themselves and others.


      What is a DISC Personality Assessment?


      Developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston, the DISC assessment examines how an individual ranks in the four primary personality types – dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. Everyone has these four characteristics, but the strength of each varies on an individual level.

      None of the DISC personality traits are inherently positive or negative. The profile is nonjudgmental, focused solely on helping those who take the assessment respond to conflict, resolve problems, and discover what lies behind their common habits or working styles.

      More than 2 million people have taken the 15-minute DISC profile assessment to better understand their personality type, their strengths, and their behavioral style. The assessment is designed for both individuals who want to identify and maximize their strengths and motivators, as well as organizations that want to integrate high-performance teams.

      Cowen Partners uses the DISC assessment for executive recruitment and hiring practices.

      We have created this FREE Cowen Partners DISC assessment tool for anyone to use – a $100 value, available at zero cost.

      DISC Personality Test & Assessment - Workplace Personality Testing - Cowen Partners

      What Are Some Benefits of DISC Profile Assessments?


      The DISC personality assessment is one of the most common “tests” used in business — for very good reasons. The results of these workplace personality assessments can unlock several benefits for both individuals and teams across any industry or type of organization.



      You cannot develop your strengths and work on your weaknesses if you don’t know what they are. The DISC profile can improve self-awareness, meaning the ability to objectively and realistically evaluate yourself. That can be the foundation of success in your work life and your personal life.



      With improved communication and conflict resolution, you’ll discover overall stronger cohesiveness in your teams. Team members will better understand each other and themselves. They can also gain a deeper understanding of how they complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.



      Great leaders are effective communicators who know how to influence others, build rapport, and inspire teams. You will not be able to do that without a deeper understanding of yourself and others. By knowing more about your personality and working style, as well as the personalities and working styles of your team, you can become a more successful leader.



      If self-awareness is the foundation of success, communication is the foundation of great teams. The ability to identify challenges, communicate them effectively, and find practical solutions is vital to successful teamwork. Therefore, it’s also vital for successful businesses.

      Conflict Resolution


      When you know how everyone on your team communicates, you can identify where potential conflicts may occur. You can also get to the root cause more quickly whenever issues arise. The DISC profile can reveal the deeper personality conflicts that can be behind team members disagreements and disputes.

      Customer Service


      DISC profiles are especially effective for sales and customer service teams, who need to understand and adapt to many different types of personalities. When teams know their own personalities, as well as those of their audience, they can foster those real, human connections that prospects and customers are seeking.

      Free DISC Test - DISC Profiles & Assessments - Scientifically Validated Assessments by ASI

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      At Cowen Partners, our DISC assessments lead by example, with independent validation meeting APA, EEOC, AERA, and NCME standards. Our goal is to ensure the trust of both our members and end-users alike by providing the most accurate and reliable assessments available. This is why we believe in a policy of total transparency, with every study’s report available for your review, and available to be shared with your clients and colleagues. In an apples-to-apples comparison, we believe our DISC assessment, along with other personality tests and culture fit assessments, will prove to be the top choice among industry professionals who value accuracy, compliance, and objectivity.


      Cowen Partners Executive Search - DISC Tests & Workplace Personality Assessments

      Finding the right talent is hard. Cowen Partners makes it easier.


      Cowen Partners gives our clients access to the top 1% of human capital to create opportunities that accelerate their growth and market share. With Cowen Partners, clients can grow at scale, create value, and drive results with world-class talent.

      Our clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million to multi-billion-dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets over a billion. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite and include VP and director strategic-level leadership roles.

      With our proven processes and guaranteed results, our top-rated executive recruiters have successfully placed hundreds of candidates in industries including technology, human resources, manufacturing, real estate, financial services, sports and entertainment, non-profit, and private equity.

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      DISC Assessment FAQs


      Discover more about what DISC assessments are, how they work, and how they can be game-changing for both hiring leaders and the candidates they’re interviewing in the FAQs below.

      What Is a DISC Assessment?

      DISC assessments are behavioral and personality evaluations that detail an individual’s predominant traits. Also referred to as “DISC tests” and “DISC personality tests,” DISC assessments categorize people into four main behavioral types: 


      1. Dominance (D)
      2. Influence (I)
      3. Steadiness (S)
      4. Conscientiousness (C)


      Each DISC profile “type” represents specific behavioral tendencies and patterns, as well as communication styles, personality traits, work styles, and more. 


      As such, DISC assessments can be vital recruiting, screening, and hiring tools for evaluating how well a candidate’s behavioral traits and personality align with:


      • Specific roles and job requirements 
      • A given team or department within an organization
      • Company culture
      • An organization’s short- and long-term goals


      Consequently, DISC assessments can be invaluable for hiring leaders, empowering them to make more informed decisions during the hiring process. 


      Similarly, DISC personality assessments can help applicants showcase their strengths, craft better interview responses, and be able to better demonstrate how they would fit and work with an organization, as well as a specific team within it.

      What Are the 4 DiSC Personality Types?

      “DISC” is an acronym for the four main personality types it describes, based on an individual’s dominant behavioral traits. The four DISC personality types are as follows, with some general advantages and potential drawbacks for each type below:


      1. Dominance (D)


      • Pros: Dominant individuals are assertive, results-driven, and take-charge folks who tend to be confident decision-makers, as well as risktakers. Driven and direct, dominant individuals focus on goals, which often makes them effective leaders, trailblazers, and agents of change.


      • Potential Cons: Dominant individuals may need to be mindful of crossing the “assertive” line and stepping into “too controlling” territory. They also need to beware of impatience, being overly demanding, and failing to consider other perspectives. In collaborative environments, too much dominance can give rise to conflict. 


      2. Influence (I)


      • Pros: Influential individuals are outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, and persuasive. Often extroverted and delighted to interacting with others, influential folks tend to be great at building and maintaining relationships. They’re also excel at inspiring and motivating others, communicating, and working on and with teams.


      • Potential Cons: With a focus on socializing and maintaining harmony, influential individuals can be vulnerable to distraction and impulsiveness while possibly struggling with time management, attention to detail, and/or task completion. These individuals can also be prone to overcommit and overpromise in an effort to keep the peace or avoid conflict.


      3. Steadiness (S)


      • Pros: Steady individuals are usually patient, supportive, empathetic, and reliable. Placing high value on cooperation, these folks tend to be good listeners and great team players, fostering stability, harmony, and loyalty. Steady individuals are often extremely dedicated employees.


      • Potential Cons: Steady individuals can struggle with change, difficult decisions, and uncertainty. Since these folks prefer routines and stability, they tend to resist changes to the status quo, confrontation, and risk-taking. 


      4. Conscientiousness (C)


      • Pros: Conscientious individuals are systematic, organized, and exceptionally detail-oriented. Focused on quality and accuracy, these folks are extraordinary planners and problemsolvers, who typically have strong work ethics, respect for the rules, and an eye for meeting deadlines. 


      • Potential Cons: Conscientious individuals can be perfectionists who may procrastinate challenging decisions or struggle with risks, change, or big-picture outlooks. These folks may also struggle to see viable alternatives or be overly critical.

      Remember, these DISC personality types are NOT absolutes. They’re merely descriptors that provide general frameworks for understanding people, how they behave, and how those personality types will fit in a given setting. 


      Also, keep in mind that different pros and cons for specific DISC personality types could be advantageous or not in various settings, roles, and circumstances. In other words, “cons” could actually be advantages for specific needs and objectives, based on a company, the role it’s hiring for, the company culture, and the organization’s goals for the future. 

      How Can I Use Knowledge of DiSC® Styles?

      DiSC profiles, styles, and assessments can be applied and leveraged in various ways. Specifically, DiSC knowledge can help you: 


      • Dial into your own tendencies, communication styles, and soft skills: This can highlight who you work well with, what your strengths and weaknesses may be, and more.
      • Evaluate others’ personality styles for screening and hiring purposes: This can uncover more about how candidates solve problems, work in a team, handle stress, and so much more.


      While these insights into DiSC personality styles can result in more prudent hiring decisions, they can also enhance planning, productivity, and growth opportunities, allowing leaders and companies to make the most of their talent.

      What’s the Most Common or Rarest DiSC Style?

      Dominance or Type-D is generally considered to be the rarest DiSC personality while Steadiness or Type-S is widely accepted as the most common DiSC personality. In fact, studies have found that roughly: 


      • 2% of people have a Type-D DiSC personality
      • 32% have a Type-S DiSC personality


      Keep in mind that there’s no “good” or “bad” here; this simply reflects character, temperament, and disposition.

      Can I Have One Style at Work and Another at Home?

      Yes. You can have a different DiSC style at home or work — and under extreme stress, in foreign environments, and when interacting with strangers. Despite shifts or differences in distinct circumstances, however, your DiSC personality will likely be relatively the same, with the same predominant attributes holding steady while different nuances dial up or down based on the environment.

      Can My DiSC Profile Change Over Time?

      Big changes to DiSC profiles are possible but not likely, as most people tend to see fairly consistent results over time. That speaks to how personality styles may stay relatively consistent overtime, maybe shifting slightly with new experiences — but, generally, staying relatively steady. 


      Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, with one notable exception being trauma and its potential to shift DiSC profiles. 


      Still, the average person (and most people generally) tend to have consistent results from DiSC assessments over time. 

      Can My DiSC Predict What Jobs I Might Be Best at?

      Potentially, but that’s not the best or primary use of DiSC Assessments. That’s because: 

      • DiSC assessments focus on revealing more about personality, communication styles, teamwork abilities, decision-making, problem solving, and emotional intelligence.
      • DiSC tests do NOT evaluate job-related skills, experience, education, or qualifications.

      For those and other reasons, DiSC profiles and assessments are typically just one screening used in the process of hiring highly-qualified professionals, including C-suite candidates. Along with DiSC evaluations and interviews, hiring leaders may also leverage resources like (and not limited to): 

      • Specialized skills tests
      • Portfolios or test projects
      • Interviewing references
      • Working with experienced executive recruiters

      What Is the Ideal DiSC Profile?

      There is no one “ideal” DiSC profile, just like there’s not one “best” personality type. Different types fit different needs and roles. 


      So, this question should really be framed around a specific role or objective, like, “What is the Ideal DiSC Profile for a(n)…


      • CEO
      • CFO
      • VP of Sales or CRO
      • Board Member
      • CHRO
      • CTO, CIO, or CISO


      Beyond the C-Suite, DiSC profiles can be used to cull top candidates for any other position, department, or level of a company. That’s why there’s not just one DiSC profile that may be ideal for a given organization. Several may work and be needed to put together the best possible team, with well-balanced strengths and weaknesses. 

      Which DiSC Profile Is Best?

      There is no definitive answer here because the “best” DiSC profile really depends on several factors, including: 


      • The role
      • The short- and long-term objectives for that role 
      • The department and team that role fits into
      • The company culture


      As a result, the best DiSC profile for a given role looks different from company to company; similarly, the best DiSC personality for a company may not be the same from one role to the next. This is where it helps to work with an experienced professional who’s well-versed in DiSC assessments and how to leverage them for your executive recruitment needs.

      Which DiSC Style Makes the Best Leaders?

      Dominance or D-Type DiSC personalities tend to work best in leadership roles. That’s because Dominance-based DiSC personalities tend to be natural-born leaders who are: 


      • Ambitious
      • Decisive 
      • Efficient and comfortable with delegation
      • Able to easily see the big picture 
      • Adaptive, readily embracing change and continually striving for improvement, innovation, and success


      Keep in mind that pure “Dominance” isn’t necessarily ideal for all or the best leaders. That’s generally because: 


      • Dominance DiSC personalities can come with their own potential drawbacks or weak points too. 
      • Dominance blended with other personality styles can be better-suited for many leadership roles, as other styles can offset the potential weaknesses of D-type DiSC personalities.

      Should Teams Have a Mix of All Styles?

      It depends on the team, the tasks at hand, and the overall objectives that are in play. While a blend of DiSC personalities may be more advantageous for certain projects or in specific settings, it’s far more important to use DiSC Assessments to understand the team’s strengths and weaknesses. 


      With this dialed in, teams can be far more adept at: 


      • Anticipating challenges 
      • Problem solving and overcoming obstacles
      • Working together to achieve shared goals


      If you aren’t sure whether your team would benefit from a blend of DiSC personalities, talk to an experienced executive recruiter at Cowen Partners. 


      We work closely with C-suite leaders to zero in on the ideal candidates for various roles, company cultures, and more, giving us unmatched insight into the best DiSC personalities for different positions, settings, and organizations.

      Do Specific Cultures or Nationalities Trend Toward One DiSC Type or Another?

      No, there’s no evidence to show any trends or similarities in DiSC test results based on factors like (and not limited to): 


      • Race
      • Ethnicity
      • Religion 
      • Geographic location 


      DiSC results are highly individualized. While trends may emerge or be discovered at some point in the future, currently, there are no rules of thumb for how any demographic typically performs on these assessments. 

      How Many People Have Their Dot Right in the Center?

      Roughly 2% of people who take a DiSC Assessment will have their dot, meaning their results, land close to the center of the DiSC grid. This would generally indicate a “balance” of all personality styles, with no single style standing out more than another.  


      Here, it’s critical to note that: 


      • The closer the dot is to the outer edge of the circle, the stronger that personality style is for a given individual.
      • At least 80% of folks who take DiSC Assessments demonstrate moderate to strong inclinations in at least one personality style. In other words, most folks display one of the four DiSC styles more prominently than the rest.

      Do the Four DiSC Colors Mean Anything?

      Yes and no. There are no set or standard colors for DiSC charts or graphics, so you’ll see a variety of DiSC charts with different color schemes, usually branded to an organization. 


      Despite those differences, however, DiSC colors aren’t “meaningless.” On the contrary, DiSC colors, regardless of the specific shades chosen, tend to: 


      • Represent and differentiate a specific personality style: In other words, each color represents a distinct aspect of the DiSC acronym.
      • Visually explain the differences: People generally react to colors faster than words, so the DiSC colors can quickly communicate aspects of a personality style before words are read.


      While there are no established DiSC colors, many grids and piecharts will use color schemes like the following as a “key” to explain each DiSC style: 


      • Green = Dominance 
      • Red, purple, or yellow-green = Influence
      • Yellow = Conscientious 
      • Blue or brown = Steadiness 


      Ultimately, DiSC colors are just another way to communicate, define, and contextualize different personalities.

      Why Are There So Many DiSC Tests?

      There is no one “standard” DiSC assessment or test out there — and many organizations are creating their own DiSC tests — because: 


      • There are multiple ways to measure personality types. 
      • DiSC Theory, which underlies DiSC Assessments, can be interpreted and applied in different ways. 
      • Different organizations may be screening for specific nuances of various personality types. So, they may be more focused on uncovering certain facets of DiSC personalities, using different sets of questions to do so.


      Consequently, a DiSC personality assessment you take with one company could look nothing like a DiSC test you take at another organization.


      Still, just because the questions asked on a DiSC assessment differ from one test to the next, it does NOT mean that: 


      • Your personality is “different” based on the test. 
      • Your results will be “bad” or “fail” on one test or another.
      • One DiSC assessment is “better” than another. 


      Since these are all “assessments,” it’s better to consider them as evaluation tools, rather than “tests” that are passed or failed. They offer a way to measure personality traits, so leaders and decision-makers can make more informed choices about candidates, roles, and more.

      What Is the Best DiSC Profile for CEOs?

      One DiSC profile isn’t the best for all CEOs in every C-suite. Instead, there may be various CEO styles and DiSC profiles that are more or less effective for a given organization, its company culture, team dynamics, corporate objectives, and the specific challenges at hand. 


      Nevertheless, certain DiSC styles may naturally align with typical CEO responsibilities and expectations:



      Dominance in CEOs


      Chief executive officers with a high D profile are usually assertive, results-oriented, direct, and highly driven. Dominant CEOs tend to be good decision-makers, often excelling in fast-paced environments. Motivated by results and challenges, dominant CEOs can be particularly effective in turnaround situations or when decisive action is needed.


      Influence in CEOs


      Leaders with a strong I profile are typically energetic, optimistic, inspirational, and persuasive. Influential CEOs are generally skilled at motivating others, building relationships, and inspiring a shared vision. Consequently, influential CEOs are often beneficial for fostering innovation, driving change, and engaging stakeholders.


      Steadiness in CEOs


      Chief executive officers with a high S profile are often calm, patient, reliable, supportive, and cooperative. Steady CEOs usually excel in creating stable, harmonious work environments, promoting collaboration and consistency. As a result, steady CEOs can be particularly successful in maintaining a positive organizational culture and managing through periods of growth.


      Conscientiousness in CEOs


      Leaders who score high in C are analytical, detail-oriented, and focused on accuracy. Conscientious CEOs tend to excel in strategic planning, risk management, and process improvement. As such, conscientious CEOs are often beneficial for industries where precision and compliance are critical.


      In reality, the most effective CEOs usually display a blend of these styles, adapting their approach to meet the needs of their organization and its stakeholders. 


      Ultimately, the best CEO DiSC profile for a position and organization is one that aligns with their: 


      • C-suite leadership style
      • Organizational needs and objectives


      Generally, the most effective leaders are aware of their behavioral and leadership styles, actively working to develop more flexibility to shift their approach as the context demands.

      What Is the Best DiSC Profile for CFOs?

      For Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), the “best” DiSC profile could lean towards role-specific responsibilities, such as (and not exclusive to):


      • Financial planning
      • Risk management
      • Data analysis
      • Strategic decision-making


      While effective CFO leadership can emerge from various DiSC personality styles, certain profiles may naturally support the dynamic demands faced by today’s chief financial officers:


      • Conscientiousness (C): CFOs with a high C profile are often detail-oriented, analytical, and focused on accuracy, all of which is critical in financial reporting and compliance. Conscientious CFOs tend to prioritize quality, data, and processes, making them adept at navigating the complexities of financial management, strategic planning, and risk assessment. Additionally, conscientious CFOs tend to be cautious, thoughtful decision-makers, which serves them well in the financial stewardship of an organization.
      • Dominance (D): A CFO with a strong D profile can be highly effective in environments requiring quick, assertive decision-making and direct leadership. Dominant CFOs are results-oriented and can drive the financial team towards achieving ambitious goals. Able to confront challenges directly, dominant CFOs can be valuable when making high-stakes financial decisions or navigating greater uncertainty.


      While these two profiles often align with the needs of the CFO role, other DiSC profiles can serve as successful chief financial officers too:


      • Influence (I): CFOs with a high I profile can excel in roles where communication, relationship building, and influence are key. Influential CFOs can inspire teams and spearhead change, explaining complex financial strategies to non-financial stakeholders. With that, influential CFOs can also be effective in negotiating with external partners or engaging with the investment community.
      • Steadiness (S): CFOs who score high in S are typically cooperative, dependable, and calm. Steady CFOs can be particularly skilled at creating a stable, supportive environment within the finance team, ensuring smooth operations. Emphasizing collaboration and consensus, steady CFOs can foster cohesion, resilience, and sustained performance.

      Just like with CEOs, COOs, and other C-suite leaders, the efficacy of CFOs usually hinges on a blend of DiSC styles — and on the needs, objectives, pain points, and circumstances of a given business. 


      That means that the best startup CFO for a tech company may not have the same DiSC profile as the best-fit CFO for a national big box company, a cybersecurity company, a casino, or another business. That’s one reason why working with experienced CFO recruiters can be so invaluable when it’s time to find and hire the right chief financial officer for your company. 


      Skilled CFO search teams will know what DiSC personalities will be a best match for your team, your needs, and your goals, and they’ll have a roster of candidates to screen, expediting the search process.

      What Is the Best DiSC Profile for COOs?

      The best DiSC profile for COOs can vary from one company to the next because the chief operations officer role is not the same from one organization to another. In fact, the COO role often encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, from overseeing day-to-day operations to strategic planning, execution, and industry-specific activities. 


      Consequently, the most effective COOs are those who can adapt their leadership style to the needs of their organization, the challenges they face, and the teams they lead. 


      That said, certain DiSC profiles may naturally align with the general responsibilities and skills required for to serve as a successful COO:


      • Dominance (D): COOs with a high D profile zero in on results. Dominant COOs are confident, bold decision-makers who excel in environments that require fast thinking and effective problem-solving that are measurable with data. As effective, authoritative leaders, dominant COOs can be ideal for complex project management.
      • Influence (I): COOs with a high I profile are energetic, optimistic, and persuasive. Influential COOs are skilled at motivating others, cultivating relationships, and promoting cross-department communication. As such, influential COOs can be effective when leadership or bigger organization changes are occurring or during periods of exceptional growth when vision needs to align.
      • Steadiness (S): COOs who score high in Steadiness are typically dependable, patient, and cooperative. Steady COOs can be particularly strong-suited to developing consistent operational management, team collaboration, and optimized processes. Stable and supportive, steady COOs can maintain smooth operations and a positive work environment, setting teams upl for long-term success.
      • Conscientiousness (C): A COO with a strong C profile prizes details, accuracy, efficiency, and data. Consequently, conscientious COOs usually excel in strategic planning, risk management, and regulatory compliance. Focused on processes and quality control, conscientious COOs can promote operational excellence and the continuous improvement that’s pivotal to achieving organizational goals.


      As with other C-suite leaders, the most effective COOs will be those who blend styles, bring a high degree of emotional intelligence to the role, and who understand their DiSC personality strengths and weaknesses with an eye toward flexibility and improvement.

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