DISC Model: Understanding Different Types of Colleagues

The DISC is a behavioral assessment tool that is widely used to understand and analyze human behavior. It stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness, which represent four primary behavioral traits. Knowing the different personalities of your colleagues can improve communication and collaboration in your workplace.


The task-oriented extrovert (I want.)

‘Action is the foundational key to all success’
– Pablo Picasso

The dominant ‘red’ colleague is direct, decisive, and enjoys taking charge. They are fast and efficient workers who thrive in structured environments and are driven to produce results.They are also risk-takers who are very open to trying out various new ideas. 

However, they might appear argumentative or combative when trying to press their point. They are also open to challenging authority if they believe what they are doing is right. Their strong focus on delivering results might also mean that they rush projects without carefully going through the details.

How to interact with ‘red’ colleagues?

Come prepared for meetings with them. They appreciate if their colleagues have taken the effort to familiarise themselves with the meeting content beforehand. Understand that things may become heated during your meetings.

Do not take things personally, as this is just the ‘red’ colleague’s direct way of communicating. They prefer to hear the facts, with no sugarcoating of bad news or beating about the bush. As ‘red’ colleagues are men and women of action, being able to make quick decisions and execute them promptly will earn you points with them.


The relationship-oriented extrovert

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The influencer ‘yellow’ colleague is a charismatic speaker who excels in social interactions and is skilled at building relationships. They can easily come up with creative and imaginative ideas, and their cheery attitude usually inspires and motivates those around them.

However, while having a plethora of ideas, they often have difficulties translating their talk into action and bringing their ideas to fruition. Given that they want to maintain a positive atmosphere in the workplace, they may choose to tell you only what you want to hear, while avoiding bad news or feedback to keep team morale high.

How to interact with ‘yellow’ colleagues?

Given that the ‘yellow’ colleague likes to socialize, it would be helpful for you to build rapport with them by asking about their personal life. Avoid being excessively pessimistic when discussing work with them, and be careful to phrase negative feedback in a positive light.

As ‘yellow’ personalities crave attention and recognition for their work, be generous with your praise, and acknowledge their achievements publicly, in front of your boss or other colleagues.


The relationship-oriented introvert

‘There is no coincidence that stability brings success, and success brings stability’.
– Robert Green

The steady ‘green’ colleague is reliable and consistent, preferring stability and familiarity .Their risk-averse nature makes them cautious about making changes to avoid rocking the boat. They are also patient listeners and are sensitive towards others’ needs and feelings.

Given that they value their working relationships and place great emphasis on maintaining harmony in the workplace, they are often called upon to be mediators or moderators in their teams.

However, they may also come across as indecisive and slow to act.  Possessing a conflict-avoidant personality that makes them fearful of offending other colleagues, they may give vague instructions to their team members to avoid responsibility, or be hesitant to speak up in meetings even if they know the team is doing something wrong.

How to interact with ‘green’ colleagues?

Do not press or rush your ‘green’ colleague to make decisions. They need to be given ample time to think through the options carefully. It does not mean that they have forgotten about it, rather they will come back to you in due time. ‘Green’ personalities also value warmth and sincerity in their social interactions. Care for your ‘green’ colleagues like you would your own friends – ask how they are feeling, and if they need any help at work.


The task-oriented introvert

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.”
– Colin Powell

The conscientious ‘blue’ colleague is systematic, organised, and enjoys working independently. They value precision and strive for perfection in everything they do. They generally respect colleagues who are competent workers and have proven professional skills and specialised knowledge. They may practice a rigid adherence to rules and procedures, and prefer to focus on the process rather than the results.


On the other hand, ‘blue’ colleagues may experience difficulties working with others, as their perfectionistic tendencies and overly critical nature can frustrate their teammates. They may also be viewed as inflexible and uncreative, and may appear to be overly bogged down by insignificant details.

How to interact with ‘blue’ colleagues?

Be as specific and thorough as you can when explaining your point of view to them. ‘Blue’ colleagues love to hear the background, rationale and all the minute steps you took to reach your conclusions.

However, If you wish to seek their opinion, accept that ‘blue’ colleagues will generally always be critical of your work due to their very high standards. It will also pay off to think ahead and anticipate potential pitfalls beforehand, which will impress your ‘blue’ colleagues as it shows that you have seriously considered all possibilities.

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