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The DISC Psychometric Journal

Your regular update of news and articles from the world of DISC personality profiling with the Discus solution.

Inside a Discus DISC Report: The Trait Grid

A Discus Feature Focus

Published: Tuesday 2 April 2024

The Discus Trait Grid is a graphical method of showing how a series of crucial traits apply to a particular personality, not only in general terms, but also in their current situation.

An example of a Trait Grid

An example of a Discus Trait Grid

1 Accuracy
2 Assertiveness
3 Co-operativeness
4 Efficiency
5 Enthusiasm
6 Friendliness
7 Independence
8 Objectivity
9 Patience
10 Persistence
11 Self-confidence
12 Self-motivation
13 Sensitivity
14 Social Orientation
15 Technical Potential
16 Thoughtfulness

Each of the traits on the grid is colour-coded to show its relationship with a particular DISC factor (for instance, red traits relate primarily to Dominance, yellow traits to Influence and so on). The traits on the grid are identified by numbers, and you'll find a key to these numbers directly beneath the Trait Grid in an actual Discus report.

For reference, and to give some idea of the range of personality features involved, the Trait Grid's traits are listed opposite.

How the Trait Grid Works

The traits on the trait grid are calculated for both Internal and External profiles of the candidate in question. This not only gives us a measure of how significant each trait naturally is, but also how strongly a person feels they should be projecting that trait.

On the Trait Grid, we plot traits vertically according to their importance in the Internal Profile, so the higher a trait is on the grid, the more important it is in a person's core personality. Traits are plotted horizontally based on their External value, so the further to the right a trait appears on the grid, the more strongly the candidate feels the need to display that trait.

The resulting pattern will depend on how closely matched the Internal and External DISC profiles are. If the two profiles are very similar, then the natural traits will match the candidate's perceptions, and the Trait Grid will show a nearly straight line running from bottom-left to top-right. On the other hand, if the two profiles are entirely dissimilar, then the traits will be scattered across the grid. In reality, we usually find a pattern somewhere between these two extremes, as in the example shown here.

The Quadrants of the Trait Grid

The usefulness of the Trait Grid becomes clearer when we consider it as divided into four quadrants. For example, in the top-right quadrant of the grid we have traits that are high on both the Internal and External profiles. In other words, they're a natural part of a person's approach, and also seen as necessary in their current situation. This means that the traits in this quadrant are likely to regularly appear in a person's behaviour, and so we call these 'Permanent Traits'.

Each of the four quadrants has its own implications for the way a person will behave and the likelihood of a particular trait appearing:

Potential Traits

In the top-left quadrant of the grid, we find traits that are part of a person's natural style, but that don't seem appropriate to their current situation.

These traits are Potential in the sense that they will probably not be commonly seen in a person's behaviour, but they are inherent to the style and might emerge under the right conditions.

Permanent Traits

In the top-right quadrant of the grid, we find traits that are both natural to a person's style, and seen by them as important under current conditions.

Traits like this can be expected to appear as a commonplace and regular part of a person's behaviour, and for this reason are labelled Permanent.

Inactive Traits

In the bottom-left quadrant of the grid, we find traits that are not strongly represented in any of the DISC profiles.

These traits are Inactive in the sense that it will be unlikely - though not entirely impossible - to see traits like this in a person's behaviour under almost any circumstances.

Transient Traits

In the top-right quadrant of the grid, we find traits that a person feels they should be displaying at present, but which are not a part of their core personality.

These traits are Transient in the sense that they derive from current circumstances. As those circumstances change, it's likely that these traits will become less relevant.

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