Situational Leadership® and DiSC®: Managing the “High C” (CONSCIENTIOUSNESS)

When you attend a Situational Leadership® training session, you learn that leadership styles are neither “good” nor “bad.” In large part your degree of success as a leader is a function of the person you are attempting to influence, the task that needs to be accomplished and your ability to effectively execute the leadership style with the highest probability of success.

When you attend DiSC® training you learn that human behavior is a product of how people perceive and respond to their environment. You get a DiSC® profile based on your DiSC® assessment that provides validated insight into why you behave the way you behave. Beyond that, it provides you with valuable insight into why others behave the way they do.

Since leadership is both a complicated and thoughtful endeavor, it stands to reason that leaders will benefit from the ability to integrate tools like Situational Leadership® and DiSC®. In that regard, imagine you are a Situational Leader with a task that needs to be accomplished through a follower whose DiSC® profile suggests they are a “high C” (CONSCIENTIOUSNESS: bold and skeptical). What behaviors would a “high C” tend to exhibit at each of the four levels of Performance Readiness®, and what should you (as the leader) consider doing and not doing as you execute each of the four leadership styles?

DiSC® Style—CONSCIENTIOUSNESS Performance Readiness® Cues and Leadership Style Responses


  • R1Unable but Insecure or Unwilling
    • InsecureImmobilized by the perceived absence of a clear path forward
    • UnwillingOpenly challenges the value of the task and the validity of the process
  • S1High Task/Low Relationship Behavior
    • DOUse precise language to communicate explicit expectations; recognize that ambiguity on your part will translate to heightened insecurity or lack of commitment on theirs; leverage facts and data
    • DON’TForget to prepare for challenging questions grounded in an aversion to risk


  • R2Unable and Confident/Willing
    • Cautious, intentional and disciplined approach to development
  • S2High Task/High Relationship Behavior
    • DOFavor logic and analysis over intuition; provide context around why task is important in the overall scheme of things; be clear on step-by-step goals and a proactive process to identify unforeseen obstacles
    • DON’TUnderestimate their need for stability or their fear of being wrong


  • R3Able but Insecure or Unwilling
    • InsecureOveranalyzes iterative nature of development with an emphasis on setbacks compared to undeniable growth and improvement
    • UnwillingClearly contests practicality and sustainability of effort
  • S3High Relationship/Low Task Behavior
    • DOUse metrics to make the case for development or continued performance; listen when they provide progress reports or updates and encourage them to share insights on next steps and future progress
    • DON’TTry to rush or expedite the process necessary for them to make decisions of consequence


  • R4 Able and Confident/Willing
    • Acts as a calming source of subjective support
  • S4Low Relationship/Low Task
    • DOAllow them the time they need to set quality performance goals grounded in their experience; provide them with opportunities to expand their existing base of knowledge, experience and skill
    • DON’TAllow them to over analyze decisions that impede the progress of others