ATD Blog

Bringing Out the Best in D Style Contributors

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Team drama. Interpersonal conflict among colleagues. Entire departments that become dysfunctional because a few key players simply can’t get along.

Disruptive conflicts like these play out in all types of organizations, in every industry, every day. But they don’t have to. When employees understand themselves, as well as others—what motivates them, what stresses them out, what drives them to achieve their goals—there’s less conflict, more collaboration, better working relationships, and healthier workplaces. That’s where the Everything DiSC Workplace® solution can help. 

Everything DiSC® is a personality assessment tool that measures preferences and tendencies that shape the workplace experience. Based on an individual’s assessment data, a customized report provides a wealth of information about his or her style.

This personalized report explains the differences and similarities among all four DiSC® styles. It also identifies key strategies for making more meaningful connections with colleagues of various styles and working more effectively to reduce tension, solve problems, and contribute positively to their organization.

A Closer Look at the D Style


D stands for Dominance—getting the best out of your D style team members starts with fully understanding their strengths. These folks bring so much to the table: 


  • Highly driven and strong willed, they constantly look for new challenges and opportunities as they strive for Results. They are motivated by the need to make their mark and don’t let obstacles get in their way.
  • D style talent also puts a priority on Action. Assertively promoting their bold ideas, they tend to focus on achieving their goals quickly and forcefully, thriving in a fast-paced environment.
  • Independent-minded D style types also prioritize Challenge. Because controlling outcomes is so important, they often take a skeptical and questioning approach to ideas they don’t agree with or in situations where things are not totally clear to them.
    People with a D style are often highly respected by the organization. With their direct, businesslike approach to opportunities and challenges, they are seen as go-getters who deliver on their promises. All good things, right?

While it is true that the strengths of your D style talent are critical to getting things done, folks with this style also can be extremely blunt and forceful. Their need to win, when overused, can result in situations that are more win/lose than win/win.  What’s more, under pressure, they can become very demanding and impatient.


The very motivators that drive positive D style behavior—results, action, challenge—can also result in unnecessary conflict with other styles.  Co-workers with the opposing S style, for example, may find it particularly challenging to work effectively with their D style colleagues. Even two very strong D styles can butt heads when neither is willing to flex their behaviors and find a way to accommodate the needs of the other.   

Knowledge of Styles Is Power

Bottom line: Awareness of self and others is key to getting the very best from every member of your talent pool. The more individuals know about their own needs, motivators, stressors, and strengths—and those of others—the better able they are to adapt their behaviors in ways that build more effective relationships and contribute to building better workplaces. With the Everything DiSC Workplace solution, individuals at every level, in any role in your organization can begin to understand their style and appreciate the different priorities, preferences, and values everyone brings to the workplace, and how they can learn to adapt to the style of others.   

I’ll be exploring how to bring out the best in employees with other DiSC styles— i, C, and S—in subsequent posts in this Everything DiSC blog series. Watch for more coming soon.

About the Author

Instructional Designer and Trainer, John Wiley and Sons  Robin Kellogg, an instructional designer and trainer with Wiley, has the privilege of working with a network of professionals who guide organizations and individuals through improved workplace effectiveness using Everything DiSC. With an extensive background in group facilitation, her current interest is in conducting online training sessions that support effective learning within the virtual classroom.Robin’s varied career in the training and development field spans more than 20 years and ranges from being an independent consultant to working as a corporate trainer in the healthcare field. Her experiences include conducting public seminars in 30 states, as well as chasing several entrepreneurial ventures. Robin holds a degree in elementary education and a graduate certificate in instructional design.

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