Why are you alone? / I need a year before I can trust someone
As much as this sounds like a particularly sensitive Drake lyric, it’s actually an example our DISC profiling test facilitator gave to describe someone he met who had a high-Compliant result. I was already skeptical to begin with, and this didn’t help. Neither did his next example.
He proceeded to tell us about his highly-Influential friend who once wore to a cafe a “pink polka dotted dress” accompanied with a “mickey mouse headband”, and announced her presence to the whole world as loud as she could, only to follow up with “I don’t need to know all of them, they just need to know me!”
I have a highly-Influential classmate and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be caught dead wearing mickey mouse ears on his head in public.
This is probably not the first time you guys have taken a test like this. Some of you may have undergone DISC testing in secondary school, while others may have been through other similar personality tests. Here in VJ, the DISC test serves two purposes. Firstly, one big reason why your teachers (and your classmates probably) want to know your personality type is the upcoming PW season. Grouping new classmates together in functional and harmonious groups is vital to succeeding in PW, and the DISC profile at least gives your teachers and classmates a small idea of who will work better with who. Besides that, it’s also probably best that students know what their basic personality types are, so that maybe in the future they may be able to use this information to make better decisions for themselves.
However this is not to say this profiling test is perfect, as there are still enough inherent flaws and drawbacks in it that you would have to take the final results with a barrel of salt.
What Would You Really Do?
One reason that the test might be slightly flawed is that sometimes even you yourself can’t judge what you will or will not do. It’s very easy to say that you’ll act a certain way on the test, but when you’re stuck in a real situation where you have to make a decision under pressure you might actually end up reacting in a way that’s different from what you thought you’d do. Let’s face it, pressure can bring out the best and worst in people, and the DISC test is limited in taking this into account.
Another reason would be that it’s a no-brainer to manipulate the results to your favour. To get a result with a high-Dominant streak, in order to present yourself as a natural-born leader, all you would have to do is choose the options where it clearly states you take charge of the situation or impose your ideas on others. For example, a for a question that asks “When other people bring their concerns to me for advice, I generally….”, the obvious Dominant answer would be “listen for a moment and then tell them what they need to do” while the high-Steady style answer would be “listen to their story and then tell them about one of my experiences that was just like theirs.” It is very evident that it is all too easy to manipulate the test results to create the perfect persona you desire.
Even after you take the test and get the results, maybe you should stop for a moment and think about it. Just because the result slip you were given had “DI” on it, does that mean that you won’t ever consider compromise or let others take charge? Worse still, does it mean that you can’t?
Yes the test might be slightly flawed in its design and execution, but what’s way more dangerous is the possibility that you take it to heart. The results of your DISC may confine you to the mindset that you have a certain personality and that your actions should be governed by that. After the test results came out, I had friends exclaiming “this is totally like me”, “this is so true” and the like. To me it sounded like they were all readily accepting what the results were feeding to them without much question. I did hear several people saying that their profiles didn’t match their character, but many still accepted the box the results put them in without much hesitation. However, in life, traits from all four personality types will be required, and getting stuck in the mindset that you cannot excel in certain areas would only hinder your ability to exercise all that your character is capable of. Just because you’re less proficient in a certain aspect doesn’t mean you don’t possess it at all. And just because you don’t possess a certain trait at a high level doesn’t mean you can’t try. Just because you’re a high-Influential/Steady person doesn’t mean you can’t lead. Before this test, you could be whoever you wanted to be, sometimes a leader when you needed to take charge, at other times an empathizer when your friends needed you. But the test results come up revealing that you don’t naturally tend towards being a leader, and suddenly someone who’s bossier gets assigned that role. Just because you don’t prefer to be a leader doesn’t mean you can’t. Certain people only take on a role when it’s needed of them to, and could possibly excel in it regardless of what their DISC profiling is. The test only serves to discourage you from taking on a role in disagreement of their profile, taking away any chance you might have had to strengthen the areas you’re weak in, or hone the skills you already have but prefer not to utilise.
I feel that the DISC profile should strictly only be taken as a general guideline to the kind of personality you are comfortable with having. After all, if the DISC profiling test is taken as strict proof of the kind of person you are, we would only have a grand total of 40 personalities among the 7 billion people in the world. Everyone has their own individuality and unique combination of qualities and tendencies, which the DISC profiling test will never be able to pinpoint. What’s more important for you as an individual, however, is that you use the test results in a positive way. Instead of some sort of in-depth analysis into your brain (like a blood test, but for your personality), use the DISC as a guide to what qualities you may have to work on instead of shun. You can still work around whatever personality they “give” you and the important thing that the school wants for you is that you at least have some self awareness to adapt to different people around you. Obviously, the upcoming PW season is going to be a Herculean test of your ability to do this, but it’s just the first of many, and if you can use this DISC test as a jump-off to bettering yourself for the sake of others, then all the better for you too.
Yap Qi Rou (15S33) and Nathanael R. (14S43)