Behavioral Assessments vs Personality Tests


Is DISC a Personality Test?

That is probably the #1 question I get asked or the statement that people most often say incorrectly when talking about the DISC assessment. It is NOT a personality test! It doesn't measure personality and it isn't a test, so neither is accurate. You can't pass or fail. DISC is a measurement of human behavior, not personality. While there are some overlaps, there are more differences than similarities.

Let's look at two personality tests that are in the market today. MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and the Enneagram are some of the most widely known and talked about personality tests in the marketplace today. MBTI takes into account how you perceive information and how you prioritize that information when you make decisions. Your personality type in this system is something you’re born with. But how you USE your mental wiring will vary greatly from person to person.

Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, began creating the indicator during World War II in the belief that a knowledge of personality preferences would help women entering the industrial workforce for the first time to identify the sort of war-time jobs that would be the "most comfortable and effective" for them. The MBTI is based on the theory of Carl Jung who speculated that people experience the world using four psychological functions -- sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking. The four categories are introversion/extraversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. Each person is said to have one preference from each category, producing 16 unique types.

Another personality test that is very popular today is the Enneagram. Your enneagram type gets much more personal than your Myers-Briggs® but looking at your childhood wounds, what your basic fear is, and experiences led you to develop certain coping mechanisms.

The enneagram can also tell us what your basic desire and fear are. It tells us what you’re running away from as well as what you’re running towards.

Ones seek righteousness and integrity.

Twos seek love and belonging.

Threes seek achievement and success.

Fours seek individuality and personal freedom.

Fives seek competence and specialization.

Sixes seek security and certainty.

Sevens seek happiness and possibility.

Eights seek control and autonomy.

Nines seek peace and inner harmony.

While we can see some overlaps with DISC and Enneagram, there are no direct correlations.

The main difference between personality and behavior is that you can coach someone to change their behavior because behavior is situational. You cannot, nor would you want to coach someone to change their personality. Personality is a combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's distinctive character. Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Where DISC looks at human behavior and only measures at how a person communicates.

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