Negotiations with the DISC Model

In many professions it can be of essential importance to correctly assess one's counterpart. Different characters surround each of us in everyday project work and it is often important to understand these different personalities, not least in order to be able to negotiate with them or convince them of something. Among the many different personality models, character analyses and psychological assessment methods, the DISC model, which was developed almost 100 years ago, is still relevant. William Moulton Martson already thought about the topic of different personality types in 1928 and John G. Gier developed a personality test based on it. In this model, people are roughly divided into four different types.
Different faces cut out of paper, lying next to each other.

The DISC Model

But how does this model work? How can I gain an advantage by sorting my counterpart into one of the groups? Let's take a closer look at the DISC model. The four groups of personalities are classified according to their traits and characteristics. There is a theory in the DISC model that every person belongs to one of the four groups.

D - the dominant type

The dominant type is strong-willed and has a strong need for recognition. He appears ambitious and is usually quite ambitious, especially professionally. This personality type is often found in management levels, because dominant types often quickly reach the seats of companies thanks to their determination. They appear self-confident. The dominant type is also characterized by a certain willingness to take risks, which interacts with the aforementioned characteristics. Many people of the dominant type overestimate themselves and tend to underestimate others. If you show them their own limits, it is not uncommon for them to react violently: dissatisfaction, confrontation and provocation show up. If you have found out that your counterpart is a dominant type, you can use this for your negotiations. Make good arguments, be respectful and maybe even give a flattering compliment at the beginning. Use logic and appear confident yourself.

I - the initiative type

People of the initiative personality type are usually very motivated employees. They are communicative, empathetic, attentive and enjoy receiving attention themselves. Initiative types usually have many contacts and a good network. They are enthusiastic and good team players. It is usually easy for these people to convince others of their enthusiasm and to infect them. In a negotiating position: With an initiative type, it is best to rely on sympathy. Try to convince your initiative counterpart of your point of view through passionate arguments and enthusiasm. If you are fully engaged, the initiative type will find it easier to empathize with you and give your proposal a chance.

S - the steady type

The steady personality type is rather reserved and gentle, helpful and sometimes even self-sacrificing. His need for harmony and friendly interaction is great. Everybody likes to have steady types as colleagues because they are reliable and like to work well in a team. When everything is going well, a steady type is a perfect contemporary. However, when there are conflicts, many steady personalities prefer to avoid them. They also often find it difficult to make changes. This personality type is therefore less likely to be found in leadership positions. Working under pressure is not suitable for the steady employee, because their stress resistance is low. In a negotiation situation: You should not put the steady personality type under pressure. Be natural and friendly, remind them of common ground, goals achieved together, and emphasize teamwork. The steady type is most likely to agree with you if your proposal is good for the team.

C - the compliant type

The compliant type is a rational, reasonable, concentrated and is a very pragmatic employee, who usually appears rather reserved and aloof. He works very thoroughly and his way of working follows a well thought-out logic. He can appear pedantic, especially when it comes to the work of his colleagues. Many compliant types tend to be loners and work less well in a team. Positive aspects, however, are the high stamina and precision, for example, in analyses or in dealing with numbers. The compliant type is afraid of being criticized. In a negotiation situation: The compliant type is usually very tough in negotiation situations. He has analyzed everything in detail beforehand and is difficult to convince of a different view. So you must also prepare very carefully for a negotiation with a compliant person in order to have good arguments ready. Defend your opinion firmly and clearly.

Use this knowledge

Once you have analyzed your environment and classified your negotiating partners into the four categories, you can use your knowledge in any discussion. Always adapt your negotiation and persuasion strategy to your counterpart. Pay attention to the aspects of collegiality, critical faculties, empathy and rationality. Of course, the question of your relationship to your counterpart, hierarchical, social, friendly and professional, also plays an important role. Not only adapt your strategy, but also deliberately choose a negotiation venue that gives you an advantage. Your office, his office, a meeting room, a neutral location? Depending on your personality type, an environment can be ideal for one interlocutor but rather counterproductive for another.
Author: IAPM internal 

Key words: Project management, Tip, Guide, Personality, Psychology

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For better readability, we usually only use the generic masculine form in our texts. Nevertheless, the expressions refer to members of all genders.