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Navigating Workplace Conflict: Leveraging DISC Behavioral Analysis for Conflict Resolution

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

In any workplace, conflict is inevitable. Different personalities, work styles, and perspectives can often clash, leading to tension, misunderstandings, and reduced productivity. However, understanding the root causes of these conflicts and finding effective resolution strategies is crucial for a harmonious and productive work environment.

This is where the DISC behavioral analysis comes into play. Developed by William Moulton Marston who built on the work of Carl Jung; the DISC model categorises behavioral traits into four main styles:

Directness (D)

Influence (I)

Steadiness (S)

Conscientiousness (C)

Each of these styles responds differently to conflict and has its unique approach to resolution.

I have aligned the DISC styles with Thomas Kilmann's model of conflict resolution, which identifies five conflict-handling modes: Can you identify yourself or colleagues.

Competing (Assertive/Uncooperative):

  • Competing relates to the (D) DISC style. D-styles are assertive and often prioritise results over relationships. They might use a competitive approach in conflict, focusing on their objectives and less on cooperation.

Recommendation for Reducing Conflict: D-styles should be aware that their assertiveness may intimidate others. To reduce conflict, they could practice active listening, consider others' perspectives, and engage in collaborative problem-solving.

Collaborating (Assertive/Cooperative):

  • Collaborating best suits the Conscientiousness (C) DISC style. C-styles are analytical and detail-oriented, emphasising finding solutions that satisfy all parties involved.

Recommendation for Reducing Conflict: While C-types seek thorough analysis, they might become overly critical and fixated on minor details. To reduce conflict, they could focus on the bigger picture and work on being more flexible.

Compromising (Moderately Assertive/Moderately Cooperative):

  • Compromising aligns with the Steadiness (S) DISC style. S-styles are accommodating and value harmony in their interactions, often opting for compromise to maintain peace.

Recommendation for Reducing Conflict: S-types might avoid conflict by giving in too easily. To reduce conflict, they should work on expressing their needs and concerns more explicitly and regularly, without sacrificing their own well-being.

Avoiding (Unassertive/Uncooperative):

  • Avoiding resonates with the Steadiness (S) and Conscientiousness (C) DISC styles. Both S and C personalities might lean towards avoiding conflict to maintain stability or to prevent disruption.

Recommendation for Reducing Conflict: To minimise conflict, S and C types need to build confidence in expressing their opinions and concerns without fearing negative consequences. Developing assertiveness can be key.

Accommodating (Unassertive/Cooperative):

  • Accommodating relates to the Influence (I) DISC style. I-styles are people-oriented and strive to maintain positive relationships, sometimes accommodating others' needs at the expense of their own.

Recommendation for Reducing Conflict: I-styles need to be cautious of prioritising harmony over their personal objectives. To minimise conflict, they should work on asserting their own needs confidently while still valuing relationships.

Understanding how each DISC style responds to conflict and linking it to Kilmann's conflict-handling modes provides a roadmap for reducing workplace conflicts. It's essential for individuals to recognise their natural inclinations and actively work on areas that might lead to conflict, promoting a more harmonious and effective work environment. Acknowledging these differences and employing tailored conflict resolution strategies can significantly improve collaboration and productivity in any workplace.


Incompany Training on this topic is available in NZ. The workshop is 3 hours and is called RESOLVE. Email to get a quote for an incompany workshop.

Online Training on this topic is available worldwide. The programme is 10 modules and is $55pp.


BSc.psychology, Diploma Professional Coaching, Master Trainer Extended DISC.

Marina is a coach, professional development expert, and facilitator who specialises in helping people develop themselves so they can be the best version of themselves and conduct their personal and professional lives more effectively.

Learn more about her HERE

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