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Putting labels on people

Putting labels on people

Publié le 14 janv. 2022 Mis à jour le 14 janv. 2022
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Putting labels on people

Pierre is the archetypal nice guy. Smiling, always cheerful, a bundle of laughs and funny stories to share. There is always something happening to him and his spirit is contagious. I like to talk and learn with him because he can do something that I can’t. He’s good at making people feel comfortable, as a salesperson that’s his trump card. But he’s worried about what people might think of him.


Monday moaning


Footsteps in the hallway. The door slowly swings open. Everyone is sitting in a U-shape in the large room, facing a man wearing a suit and brown shoes, an open jacket. He seems rather relaxed. This morning, it’s not the sales manager who’s standing in front of us, but a trainer. He’s going to spend three days with us discussing Disc Theory.

Like many tools taught to salespeople, managers and HR, it’s easy to divert them from their professional setting. Mainly for two reasons:

  • They allow you to better understand others. It’s especially rewarding when someone's behaviour and way of doing is the opposite of your own. For example: take someone who’s literally ready to pounce on the work to be done as soon as the instructions have been given. Add a second person who will first take a sheet of paper, look into the situation, think through it and draw an effective plan of action before getting started. What makes them both different? We will find out.

  • To shed light on gut feelings and personal intuitions. They let you do the same exercise, but for yourself. Why do these social activities exhaust me while they energize the person next to me?

The Disc tool is a synthesis that allows you to categorize behaviour trends across four colours. Each of us has a way of acting that is unique to us, whether it’s in our personal life, in the workplace or depending on the level of stress we endure. 


Paint Splashes


Its theoretical basis holds on William M. Marston’s works, an American psychologist and lawyer in the 1970s. He’s known for two things: the creation of the lie detector and Wonder Woman (the comic book character who owns the Lasso of Truth).

Natural behaviour is what we have on a daily basis and is the least likely to change. It’s the aspect of our personality that comes out when we are in a comfortable situation.

Adapted behaviour is what we have when we are in a group, at work or while interacting with others. This adapted mode is essential but it comes at a cost. The more we adapt, the more it results in significant mental exhaustion. Imagine someone needing action, challenges, taking matters into their own hands, and putting them in a context where being methodical and attentive to detail is vital in order to succeed. The person will get exhausted and will feel like going against her nature.


Have you been tested?


Back in the meeting room with the trainer, he asks each of us a few questions to find out our expectations.

Some want to learn to understand others better. Others seek to be more efficient at their job. Still, others hope to get to know themselves better. And that’s when Peter talks to us about his fear. What he expects from the training is to know what other people think about him honestly. He’s afraid that his exuberant personality will make him lose the trust the group has in him and work.

This is surprising because he gives the impression of someone comfortable with social interactions. He’s one of the most appreciated people for what he brings to the group. And that’s already a big clue to assess his dominant colour.

For the results to be as accurate as possible, you should take the test before reading further. Download the table in your preferred version:

Important note: Disc theory doesn’t measure someone’s intelligence or skills, but a behavioural preference. There are no right or wrong colours, just as there is no colour superior to another. You’ll see that each of them possesses the strengths of its weaknesses. 

The test is not the actual one, the official one requires half a day to complete. I’m not a Disc trainer either. I’ve basically translated my memories and did some research here. We all have all the colours, but to different levels and degrees, which makes each profile unique.


Gummy Bears


ID Cards


Red #IronMan #Thor

Strengths: goal-oriented. Has a global vision. She knows how to make a decision quickly, even without holding all the trumps. She knows how to recognise her mistakes. Problem solver.

Needs: to be on the move. To lead. Personal challenges. She loves competition. To have responsibilities. Taking risks.

Fears: of failure. To lose control. That we take advantage of her. Uncomfortable with details. "We'll see that when it comes about." Stillness and slowness makes her feel annoyed.

Limits: impatient. Impulsive. She wants to do everything. Sometimes aggressive, too straightforward. May be insensitive to others’ feelings. Not very open to emotions or pieces of advice.

Under pressure: the red personality can have a tendency to belittle others and only sees their goals. Can sometimes break the rules to her own advantage by thinking that they concern more others than herself. She can overstep its role and bypass authority or procedures.


Yellow #Spiderman #Deadpool

Strengths: optimistic, enthusiastic, holds energy in reserve. Very comfortable with building relationships. Has a natural influence on others because her energy is contagious. Creatively solves problems. Regulates conflicts in a group.

Needs: new and varied social relationships that stimulate him. New activities. The confidence of the group. Personal recognition. That we congratulate her, including on things that seem trivial. To enjoy her work. Freedom.

Fears: of being rejected by others. To lose her freedom. To be trapped in a routine, a system or to be put in a box. To be ordinary.

Limits: disorganised. Do not always follow through. She doesn't listen enough.

Under pressure: can be even more a scattered person and snipes at people. If the stress soares even more, she stands aside from the group and withdraws into silence.


Green #Hulk #CaptainAmerica

Strengths: reliable. Loyal. Concrete. Great capacity and listening quality. Cooperative. Humble. Empathy. Patient. Personalised relationships. Good at resolving conflicts. Consistent quality of work. Don't forget about others.

Needs: regularity. To be recognised for her true value and for what she brings to the collective. Clear and though-through procedures. Some level of detail to know how to do it and get it right. Of security.  Honest and personal relationships with others. Stability and harmony. To feel useful.

Limits: unassuming. Takes time to make a decision. Stress blocks her quickly. She tends to take too much on herself. Possessive.

Fears: unstable environments. Don’t like stress, even worse, unnecessary stress. Unprepared and sudden changes. aggressivity.

Under pressure: even a little stress can put a stop to her. She’ll tend to be even more attentive to the surroundings and to what is going on around her. Will not let anything show through and will keep everything to herself until she blows up.


Blue #BlackWidow #Batman

Strengths: precise. Descriptive. Conscientious. Likes systems, structures, analysis, problem solving and high standards. Even-tempered. Down-to-earth.

Needs: security. To check. To hate. To understand both the outline, but also the details. To determine “the right way to do it”. Seeks accuracy. Quality work. The organisation. Predictability.

Limits: critical. Seems cold. Rigid. She wants to control everything. Can get stuck on unimportant details. Tend to gather more information than necessary.

Fears: of being criticised frankly. To lose control. Sharp changes.

Under pressure: hang back even more and begin to over-analyse. Pay even more attention to detail. If the pressure stacks up, get very critical and start to let people know about it.


How to be on the same page?


Red #IronMan #Thor

Be direct, concise, swift, assertive. Go to the point. Talk to her about the challenge it is and what she can gain from it. Let her decide.

Support her projects, talk about accomplishments, performances and results to be achieved.

Learn how to channel her energy and impose her clear limits. She tends to be in the driving seat and hog the conversation, so you have to know how to assert yourself, or even push her around to get her attention.

Keep your answers short and straightforward. Spare her the details that are going to annoy her for the best, or worse, that could scare her.


How do you solve a problem with a red personality?

In her style. Go directly and don’t try to paint a pretty picture. Even though your words may seem hurtful, she knows how to take it. Quite the opposite, she will appreciate you being honest.


Yellow #Spiderman #Deadpool

Be warm and enthusiastic. Accept informal moments and always share a few words with her or pay attention to her. If you forget or ignore her, she may think something’s wrong. Catch up with her.

Don't be inflexible, don't try to rush the discussion either, but instead start with what is new since the last time you met-up and share a few funny stories.

Let her speak and support her ideas. Pay attention to your monotonous tone of voice. She appreciates people who go through what they talk about and don't wear a mask. Authenticity. Know not to take yourself too seriously. Life can be fun too!

How to solve a problem with a yellow personality?

If you have anything to say to her, remind her that she has all your support, trust and that of the group too. Tell her shortly what's wrong, and don't dwell on it too long or you might end up making her dig her heels in. She would have the impression that you are trying to twist the knife in the wound.


Green #Hulk #CaptainAmerica

Be understanding, express your personal feelings. Take your time to talk to her and build confidence.

She values quality and mutual trust relationships. She likes to take time to explain things well to understand the ins and outs.

Ask her questions. Listen carefully to her answers. Respect her personal space.

How to solve a problem with a green personality?

You have to clear the air as quickly as possible. Be tactful. Set the stage and don't rush her, as she might take it as an attack. Give her time to get over the problem.

Explain things in a calm manner and involve her in finding a solution that works best.


Blue #BlackWidow #Batman

Be specific, factual and pragmatic. You don't have to overdo it to impress her, because what she values ​​is right reasoning, backed by solid evidence.

She loves to dig into the hows / whys and go into the details to get the full idea. To be sure of how to proceed and the train of thought. Do not stay on the surface you would look somewhat amateur. Bring material to its reflection.

She likes to discuss facts and data more than personal feelings. She likes to approach the consequences from every point of view. She likes to talk about the technical aspect.

How to solve a problem with a blue personality?

Listen out to her explain her points. Try to understand her and follow her train of thought to the end. Do not criticise her publicly or in a harsh way, because you will make her turn on you.

Focus the discussion on solving the problem, describing the situation as objectively as possible. And logical options to get out of the problem.


Paint Cans


Changing your karma


I am red,

  • Listen to others more,

  • Develop your patience, your empathy and your humility,

  • Ask more, argue less,

  • Think collectively, delegate,

  • Tell others what you admire about them, criticise them less,

  • Develop your tolerance for yourself and others.

I am yellow,

  • Dream a bit less and get things done,

  • Take a step back, control your emotions,

  • Concentrate on the task at hand and finish what you set out to do.

  • Listen to others,

  • Learn how to organise and plan your work,

  • You can't please everyone.

I am green,

  • Learn to stand for yourself and say no,

  • Don't always take into account the opinions of others, make your own choices,

  • Get out of your comfort zone, take risks,

  • Make decisions faster,

  • Accept the change,

  • Express your thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and dissatisfaction faster.


I'm blue,

  • Be more expressive by verbalizing your emotions,

  • Get to the point, not all the details are important,

  • Allow things not to be structured all the time,

  • Have fun!

  • Listen to your feelings and those of others,

  • Take a little more risk and decide faster.

The advantage of the model lies in its simplicity and its dynamic approach. Our colour gauges change over time and depending on the situation, more or less voluntarily. You probably have one or two dominant colours and a few spots of other colours.

You can now guess people's main colours around you. Try to play with your different colour gauges to be on the same wavelengh.

What colour(s) are your relatives?


Cover photo by Analia Baggiano. Photo of the paint splashes by Dan-Cristian Păduret. Photo of the gummy bears by Amit Lahav, photo of the paint cans russn_fckr on Unsplash.

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