DiSC High I Personality Profile Spotlight

by | Oct 8, 2013

Continuing our exploration of various DiSC personality profiles, this spotlight is focused on the “life of the party,” DiSC High-I Personality Profile.

“He embraced audiences and was aroused by them in turn …He seemed able to sense what audiences needed and deliver it to them …always aiming to please. This was one of his most effective, and yet, maddening qualities in private meetings as well: He always grabbed on to some point of agreement, while steering the conversation away from larger points of disagreement—leaving his seducee with the distinct impression that they were in total harmony about everything…”

— Dr. Sam Barondes, Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality

Dr. Barondes was writing about former President Bill Clinton. The life of the party, Clinton has the gift of gab. Even opponents acknowledge his concern for others and his ability to move audiences of one or thousands. He’s also a great example of the High-I personality.

DiSC High-I Personality Profile is one of the four dominant personality styles in the DiSC executive assessment, a personality tool I recommend for leaders to administer among their executive teams. While all people exhibit each of the four DiSC personality styles in varying degrees, the model helps managers understand the dominant traits among team members, and mobilize their motivations, decision-making strategies, and responses to stress. Ultimately, implementing DiSC executive assessments among employees enables a leader to tailor their management style to that of others and realize superior results through leveraging the strengths of others.

High-I’s, or those for whom “Influence” is the strongest personality trait, they are dynamic, high-energy forces that either can drive team objectives forward or potentially drive them into the ground.

Meet High-I

High-I’s tend to be what some people might refer to as “back-slappers.” They are “on” when they have an audience. Like the former president, they’re cheerleaders, supporters, party-throwers, and energetic. High-I’s can be tremendous assets to the team. At their best, they are:

    • Energetic They’ll bring lots of excitement to a team along with lots of new ideas
    • Fun They’ll be the ones to remember birthdays or anniversary dates for their fellow employees, which are both ideal occasions for a party.
    • Encouraging They persuade and uplift others. They’ll be the motivators on the team, encouraging others to contribute their all.
    • Masters of the first impression You want these people to make initial contact with clients, customers, and new hires.
    • Optimistic High-I’s know that they can do it, and they’ll make you believe it as well.

It’s not all fun and games for High-I’s or those with whom they work. At their worst, they:

  • Talk too much Openness and communication are vital in any work environment, except High-I’s can take this too far. When they’re stressed, they think, “If only I could explain this a bit more.” Often they forget to return the favor and listen. Pro Golfer Lee Trevino Pro golfer Lee Trevino, a High-I, was once paired with Tony Jacklin at a tournament. Jacklin said, “Lee, I don’t want to talk today.” Trevino, famous for his loquacious manner, replied, good, “I don’t want you to talk. I just want you to listen.”
  • Gloss over details High-I’s often tend to jump to conclusions. Their approach is, “Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!”
  • Lack follow-through Great ideas are often left to fizzle out and, when the cheerleader lacks interest in the game, everyone else follows suit.

A High-I personality can bring enthusiasm and energy to the team. Managing High “I” persons with an intention for success will allow them to strengthen their “areas requiring improvement.”

Management Tip: Grounding Is Essential

When giving feedback to a High-I employee, avoid doing it between meetings when you have a free five minutes. That’ll work with High-Ds, less so with High-I’s, they want to talk. Anticipate that extra time will be needed for this conversation.

It’s important that a High-I be given opportunities to allow others to speak as well. When managing, you’ll want to keep conversations on track and guide openings for others to speak. These smooth-talkers might guide the conversation where they want it, not where you need it to go. Have an endpoint and an agenda that you make clear at the onset and reinforce at the end.

The most important thing is to ground a High-I carefully. They definitely don’t need to be pumped up! It can take what I often refer to as “stick-to-itiveness.” Stick to your outline and bring balance to the conversation. Help them understand that the way to really influence people, who are essential to them, is to walk the talk and do what they say they’ll do when they say they’ll do it. Helping this employee with follow through can, make you shine as a professional manager, yielding great results. Assist this person to leverage their skills, and they will become a more effective part of the team.

When High-I people are feeling pressure, they might start to speak louder and faster, and an outburst is not outside the realm of possibility. To counter this, know that they’ll recognize and respond well to enthusiasm. Acknowledging their contributions to assure them that they are appreciated, works. Because they tend to promise more than they can deliver, they can appear to be undisciplined. Help them manage timelines and their expectations.

If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in reading our articles that spotlight the High C, High D and High S Disc personalities.

DiSC and The DiSC logo are a registered trademark of Inscape Publishing.

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