Situational Leadership® and DiSC®: Managing the “High D” (DOMINANCE)

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 D” (DOMINANCE: bold and skeptical). What behaviors would a “high D” 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—DOMINANCE Performance Readiness® Cues and Leadership Style Responses


  • R1—Unable but Insecure or Unwilling
    • InsecureOpenly irritated; will discount the comparative importance of the task
    • UnwillingWill aggressively challenge or confront authority
  • S1—High Task/High Relationship Behavior
    • Do —Prepare for an assertive/aggressive response. Be firm, confident, and under control and tell them they have what it takes to respond to this challenge
    • DON’TGet “hooked” or become defensive


  • R2Unable and Confident/Willing
    • May have a tendency to overestimate skill level and underestimate learning curve; will actively dive into the learning process
  • S2High Task/High Relationship Behavior
    • DOProvide the “big picture” and where the task fits in; detail expectations and recognize the willingness to “dive in”; define what “winning looks like”; be prepared to answer a number of questions
    • DO NOTLose focus, get sidetracked or prematurely delegate


  • R3Able but Insecure or Unwilling
    • InsecureWill exaggerate the potential consequences associated with failure
    • UnwillingWill dismiss the relative importance of the task; will become easily irritated during discussion
  • S3High Relationship/Low Task Behavior
    • DOSuccinctly state facts in context of the original plan for development/performance; solicit explanation and engage in discussion within those parameters; be prepared to redirect discussion to topic
    • DON’TLet impulsive reactions or emotion drive your response


  • R4Able and Confident/Willing
    • Dynamic, assertive and self-assured; can cite facts and data to substantiate perspective
  • S4Low Relationship/Low Task
    • DOProvide them with autonomy and reinforce the impact of their contributions; take quick action on roadblocks/problems they bring to your attention
    • DON’TNeglect or abandon them after high performance becomes the norm