Is Your Work Style Influential or Compliant? It's All In What You Wear

job interview Do you think you can predict certain things about a person's personality and work style based on how they dress?

Certified professional behavioral analyst and owner of Jane Co's Sensible Solutions, Jane Roqueplot, thinks so. Jane administers the DISC, a self-assessment inventory that examines communication styles and groups them by four basic temperaments. Here's what DISC stands for.

The D stands for the Driving style and measures how people respond to problems and challenges.

The I stands for the Influential style and measures how people influence others to their
point of view.

The S stands for the Steady/Stable style and measures the intensity levels regarding a person's behavior toward the pace of the environment.

Finally, the C stands for Compliance and measures how people respond to rules and procedures set by others and their need for information.

Roqueplot believes you can predict basic DISC styles by looking at how people dress. The best thing about fashion indicators is that you can analyze a behavior style even before the conversation begins, so you can start it on the right foot!

Driving
  • Direct and guarded
  • Like power symbols
  • Roles they may be well-suited for: call center supervisor, plant foreman, entrepreneur

Dominant "D" types tend to dress comfortably and typically pay less attention to their appearance than the other types. They may program themselves primarily for work results, so wardrobe tends to play a secondary role in most fields of work. They may be candidates for a time saving personal shopper or tailor who can choose or measure outfits for them in the privacy of their own offices. Driving-style people gravitate toward authority symbols, so they may wear navy blue or charcoal gray power suits.


Influencing

The way the "I" types dress often relates to their need for recognition. Since they like others to notice them, they may dress in the latest style. The look-at-me "I" like bright colors and unusual clothes that prompt others to compliment them. Many even prefer negative comments to none at all. "Are you dressed for Halloween today, Rhonda?" At least she is getting the attention she craves.


Steady/Stable

Steady "S" types dislike calling attention to themselves, so they tend to wear subdued colors and conservatively cut clothing, favoring conventional styles that do not stand out too much.


Compliant

Cautious "C" types tend to wear more conservative clothes, but with unique, often perfectly matched accessories. While the "I" may draw attention to himself with glitz and glitter, the "C" usually prefers a more understated, faultlessly groomed look with nary a hair out of place. However, Compliant-styles' taste may differ from the people around them. They like expressions of individuality and creativity, but within guidelines.

Next: 'What Not to Wear's Stacy London Helps You Dress for Less Stress at Work

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October 11 2011 at 4:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jane Roqueplot

Catherine, I appreciate your comment. Can I “get on the boat” with some well-deserved clarification?

It’s worth noting that Barbara mentioned four BASIC styles in her second paragraph. Again, after defining the DISC acronym, she goes on to say I believe that one’s BASIC style can be predicted through observation. In other words, perhaps a greater emphasis on the word “basic” would have prevented us from unintentionally misleading you and others.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to provide a little more education on the DISC concept. This DISC concept is known as the four basic dimensions of observable behavior. Specific behavioral traits are grouped into the four major or basic styles as noted in the article. People tend to exhibit specific basic characteristics based on their styles. While everyone has traits from all of the styles, one difference in describing a person as one basic style is the intensity level of those traits. These levels (and more) are identified through a DISC-based assessment.

Additionally, beyond those basic styles and intensity levels, most people exhibit a blend of styles, which results in even more uniqueness, as you referenced. The idea of such blends starts with the primary (or stronger) type, followed by the secondary (or lesser) type and even more. People do exhibit a blend of behavioral styles, not just one single dominant trait, but the dominate traits (style) that we discern through observation is often successfully used as the best preliminary method of understanding one’s style.

Using the assessment, gives much more insight into the accuracy of one’s tendencies. In fact, there are nearly 20,000 different plotting points on the interpretation graphs when the assessment is used. Since we cannot profile (assess) each person before we interact, we simply familiarize people with the benefit in making some accurate basic assumptions in order to communicate more effectively. We teach the very basics, keeping it easy to understand, as we provide instructive, yet one-dimensional attributes of the DISC styles.

It’s beneficial to be people-sensitive and to do our best to communicate effectively by being attentive to others’ observable styles, but for complete accuracy and the most benefit, when the situation is appropriate, we use the validated, time-tested, and accurate assessment to gain the most benefit of practical application of the DISC concept. People are multi-dimensional and are influenced by a range of motivators in addition to having a mix of behavioral styles, which is truly the DISC concept.

At the very least, we hope that all readers will use Barbara’s article as a lesson in realizing that even though people react, respond, and even dress differently than they do, it doesn’t make them wrong, it may mean they bring different strengths to the mix. Appreciating people’s differences may be the first step in relationship building. If you’d like to determine your unique style, Catherine, be encouraged to contact me.

February 26 2011 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Catherine

Jane completely misses the boat on at least one huge area of professionals: the artist. Neither power-driven, style-driven, wallflowers or conservative, artists of all types choose a vast variety of creative dressing and pairing of accessories, new with vintage clothing and color combinations that are not addressed in this DISC theory.

February 24 2011 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sridharanbdc

This is a great article

February 24 2011 at 7:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sridharanbdc's comment
sridharanbdc

another comment

February 24 2011 at 7:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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