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DISC Behavioural Styles & Time Management

Last week I spent some time discussing…….well, time! I only discovered fairly recently that there is a difference between clock time and real-time. Did you know that? Clock time, apparently is what it says on the tin. So, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day etc. Real-time is relative to what you are doing. This is why two hours can drag if you are, say, waiting for a plane but fly by (no pun intended) if you are doing something that you really enjoy.

DISC Behavioural Styles

Of particular interest to me in the context of time management is how each of the four DISC behavioural styles deals with time. Just in case you have never heard of the DISC behavioural styles, let me give you a quick overview. It is a way of identifying a person’s preferred behavioural style and has four key types. With my thanks to Extended DISC and their ideas they are:


Dominance – The D’s are the most forceful and assertive of the four DISC Behavioural Styles. These folks tend to be more direct, results-oriented, competitive and strong-willed. They prefer to move fast, take risks and get things done immediately. They usually like change and challenges and are usually efficient multi-taskers. The D’s like to create change and routine can be boring to them. They enjoy being in charge and having power and control. The D-style motto is: “I did it my way”. One of their biggest fears is to lose control.


Influence – The I’s often behave in a manner that is enthusiastic and energetic. I-styles are very people-oriented and active and can communicate in a way that is inspiring and persuasive. They can make decisions based on their intuition and emotions. Under pressure, I-style folks might appear disorganised. They influence others by being positive and generating discussion and new ideas. One of their biggest fears is being rejected.


Steadiness – The S’s can often behave in a manner that is steady and calm. They are people-oriented and quite reserved. S-styles communicate in a way that is polite and they can be patient listeners. S-styles make decisions slowly and consider the impact of their decisions on others. Under pressure, S-styles can suffer from being too willing to help. S-styles succeed by being persistent and maintaining a long-term perspective. Their biggest fear is conflict.


Compliance – The C’s like to operate in a manner that is systematic and cautious. They are task-oriented and reserved, often preferring written communication rather than verbal. C-styles are focused on accuracy and making correct decisions. Under pressure, they can be perceived as nit-picky, but they are often even more critical of themselves. The C’s succeed by focusing their efforts on the task at hand. Their biggest fear is getting it, whatever it is, wrong.

DISC Behavioural Styles & Time Management

Please note that you are not just one of the four styles, but a blend of them. We all manage our time differently and our DISC Behavioural Styles has a huge impact on how we deal with time. It impacts our perspective and how we approach things; including whether we start things right away or if we tend to plan first.

DISC Behavioural Styles & Time Management

Dominance & Time management

The D’s want to do it now because they tend to be more focused on getting results right away and getting it done fast. They are comfortable getting started right away and may occasionally ignore non-essentials. Many D’s are efficient at time-management because of their task-focused and fast-paced style, but we know D-styles are not always effective at managing their time because they might not always do the right things. The D’s, and I am one such person, may make more mistakes because they tend to overlook instructions and are more comfortable taking risks. Their short-term perspective may cause a diversion in their attention span. They want results now and can be prone to give up too soon.

The D’s can become more self-aware by practising patience; hard though that may be. When the D-style is under pressure they are working hard to get things done. They may think they are managing their time well, but they may be able to perform better if they were to actually slow down a bit. They may feel comfortable getting started right away, but they may end up going in an entirely wrong direction and have to backtrack; I know how that feels!

The D’s may sometimes need to be aware to not abandon efforts too soon if they don’t see the results they want right away. In reality, ideas sometimes take a little longer to develop and grow. They need to consider others, who are part of the implementation of their ideas, who don’t always move at the same pace. Patience may sound counter-intuitive to D’s who want to get things done quickly, right? However, thinking about the steps needed and planning a little more can end up saving time and getting them to their desired results faster.

Influence & Time management

The I’s, like the D’s, can sometimes ignore unnecessary details and jump right in. Their focus on the future rather than the present means that they can start lots of things but finish few of them before they move onto something new. They tend to get excited and motivated by new things and ideas, but then the work begins. Every project and every task has those parts that are mundane and not exciting to them and so they may find their attention and enthusiasm begin to decrease.

They are good at getting others involved with their “we can get this done” attitude. However, their optimism can get them to over-commit and over-promise.

The I’s can improve their time management style by building their discipline. Rather than celebrating too early in their mind, they can start by practising more discipline to see the idea through. While they may find this hard to do, they will have better managed their time and decreased their stress levels.

Steadiness & Time management

The S’s are comfortable when their environment is stable and secure. They are great team players who, with clear instructions, will complete tasks. We can trust them to stick to the plan and stay focused, even with repetitive tasks. The S’s, unlike the D’s and the I’s, tend to have longer-term perspectives of time and can be very persistent, completing the task in a consistent and methodical way.

The S’s understand that positive outcomes might take time to achieve, but that does not always work in their favour. They might improve their management of time, by occasionally jumping in and starting. They want to plan and have an idea about how things should happen. Consequently, they may end up thinking too much instead of just starting. If they just start, they may realise that it not as difficult as it originally seemed. They may be surprised that it didn’t take as long or was as hard as they thought it was going to be.

Compliance & Time management

The C’s, like the S’s, also have a longer-term perspective because one of their key drivers is to do things correctly even if it takes more time. When they make decisions, they will want to take a lot of time to do their research and due diligence. While this might be frustrating for the D’s and the I’s, the C’s often make the ‘best’ decisions. Even then, they may feel the need to redo it if it isn’t correct. Disciplined C’s are comfortable staying focused for long periods of time. They do not want to make mistakes so they may double and triple-check things. They can get stuck in the details, and lose track of time and the big picture. They may become distracted when they encounter mistakes.

The C’s can enhance their time management by building their awareness of “good” versus “perfect.” They sometimes need to remember to balance things being good enough and always striving for perfection. Perfection takes a lot of time and it is not always attainable in results. The C’s could benefit from recognising that they need to let go of some perfections and doing it very well is more than enough.

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