Hands up if you’ve ever felt like you’re the only person talking sense in a meeting? Got a colleague that rubs you up the wrong way because they’re either too opinionated or too wishy-washy? Or maybe there’s an in-law who always makes you feel like you’ve said the wrong thing?
Communication can be a minefield, but turns out there’s a handy psychological ‘code’ that can help you get along with anyone – well, almost.
It’s called the Disc method of personality behaviour. It’s been around since the 1920s but has become popular again thanks to recent self-help books such as Thomas Erikson’s best-seller Surrounded By Idiots. Disc uses four colours to explain types of personality: Red, Yellow, Blue and Green, which stand for Dominance, Influence, Conscientiousness and Steadiness, respectively. If you’ve like the idea of doing a Myers-Briggs test but find their 16 personality types too confusing, this is the personality quiz for you. It’s most useful for figuring out how you behave at work, but it can also be applied to personal relationships. Most people are a mix of colours, but have one ‘main’ colour.
Figure out what your main colour is, and you’ll also realise what colours you get on best with, and which ones make you want to tear your hair out.
Here’s an eight question quiz to get you started…
When someone says an opinion I disagree with, I’m most likely to…
- A) Tell them I disagree
- B) Crack a joke and change the topic
- C) Ask for more information
- D) Nod and say nothing
When there’s a difficulty at work and people can’t agree, I’m most likely to say…
- A) ‘Let’s make a decision’
- B) ‘Chill out, it’ll be fine!‘
- C) ‘Do we need more information?’
- D) ‘How does everyone feel?’
When I go to an event where there’s many people I don’t know, I’m most likely to…
- A) Make a beeline for the people most useful to me
- B) Talk to as many people as possible
- C) Stand off to the side and see if anyone comes to me
- D) Find the few people I know and stick with them
The best way to describe myself is…
- A) Motivated and fast-paced
- B) Friendly and fun
- C) Logical and careful
- D) Patient and helpful
The work I enjoy most is…
- A) Overcoming a challenge
- B) Working on a wide variety of tasks and with different people
- C) Analysing information to solve problems and make things run better next time
- D) Helping or coaching my team to be the best they can be
I like it most when people say to me…
- A) ‘You get so much done’
- B) ‘You are amazing!’
- C) ‘You really care about doing good work’
- D) ‘I don’t know what I’d do without you’
When a big change is announced at work, I’m most likely to think…
- A) Will we still hit our targets/make that deadline?
- B) How does this affect me?
- C) What’s the reasoning behind the change?
- D) Will my team be OK?
If someone starts telling me about a problem, my first reaction is to think…
- A) Get to the point!
- B) I remember when something similar happened to me…
- C) I’ll let them finish speaking, then ask my questions
- D) How can I help?
If you are: mostly As. You’re a Dominant Red
A Red loves to lead. You’ve got ambition to burn and you’re really good at getting the job done, but you can also be, well, dominant – sometimes a bit too pushy or impatient. You can clash with mild-mannered Greens, who aren’t as fast-paced as you, but give them encouragement and praise and they’ll be a huge asset. You might also feel impatient around Blues, who are always getting bogged down in the detail, but together you can do amazing work. You naturally get along well with a Yellow’s energy, just remember they need to be happy to do their best work.
If you are: mostly Bs. You’re an Influential Yellow
Yellows are creative social butterflies who can elevate everyone’s mood, but you can also overwhelm a conversation with your anecdotes, and be a bit egotistical and undisciplined. The colour you’re most likely to clash with is Blue, as they’re all about the detail and will challenge you on it – so doing a bit more prep-work on a joint project will keep you both happy. Greens love your affectionate nature, but just remember to acknowledge their work and ask how they are. And with a Red, you will impress them with your big ideas, but keep the conversation short and sweet and they won’t lose their patience.
If you are: mostly Cs. You’re a Conscientious Blue
Blues are the calm eye of the storm – you’re level-headed, hardworking and love solving problems. But you can keep others at a distance, and be overly critical of people who haven’t “done their homework”. You can get annoyed by Yellows, who seem to be all talk and no detail, but if you can accept your different strengths (and laugh at their jokes) then together you can make a project soar. You get along well with Greens, just remember that they care as much about making people happy as you do about problem- solving. Reds and Yellows may both get impatient with your focus on getting things ‘right’, but if you point out how this will help them be better at their jobs, everyone should be happy!
If you are: mostly D’s. You’re a Steady Green
Greens are the backbone of any team or group – you’re dependable, kind and super supportive. But sometimes you can be too indecisive or compliant, which exasperates others (especially if you’re in a leadership role). You’re most likely to have tension with Reds, who can seem aggressive or uncaring, but don’t back off – do the opposite! They’ll respond better if you’re more direct. You naturally get on with Yellows, just don’t get too bogged down in their drama. And if Blues seem a bit cold or standoffish, don’t take it personally – just focus on the work and they’ll respond best to your diligence.