May 15, 2014

By Judy Suiter, Competitive Edge Inc.

As a consultant certified to train and administer both DISC behavioral and the MHS, Inc. emotional intelligence assessments, I am often asked why I choose to use both. The answer is fairly simple – the two assessments measure different aspects of a person and the more awareness a person has on how and why they do things, the more control they can exhibit in order to choose effective actions. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate how the EQ-i 2.0 can be used in conjunction with the DISC Behavioral Model and how it can further validate the results of both assessments.

The DISC Behavioral Model is a self-report assessment measuring the following behaviors:

1. Dominance: How a person handles problems and challenges
2. Influence: How a person tries to influence others to their point of view
3. Steadiness: How a person paces themselves and reacts to change
4. Compliance: How a person responds to rules and regulations set by others

The DISC Model also measures a person’s emotions. The emotions associated with the four factors are as follows:

1. Dominance: Anger
2. Influence: Optimism
3. Steadiness: Empathy
4. Compliance: Fear

The EQ-i 2.0 is a self-report assessment measuring five specific factors of a person’s emotional and social functioning in the following:

1. Self-perception: Understanding your emotions
2. Self-expression: Expressing your emotions
3. Interpersonal Relationships: Developing and maintaining relationships
4. Decision Making: Using emotions to make better decisions
5. Stress Management: Coping with challenges

The DISC Model is a descriptive model and the EQ-I 2.0 is a prescriptive model. The DISC Model describes a person’s behavior and emotions so they can better understand themselves and others. The EQ-i 2.0 offers a person significant insight into how they can modify their behavior and emotions to function better.

If a person’s DISC assessment results reveal, for example, a high score on the Dominance scale, that score tells you how this person reacts to problems and challenges. A person’s EQ-i 2.0 assessment results on the Decision Making scale and the specific Problem Solving Subscale will reveal not only that the person likes problems and challenges, but how in tune they are at recognizing the emotions involved in the decision making and problem solving process. High scores on that specific scale and subscale would indicate they would be able to use their natural style to make better decisions because they have a high level of problem solving skills.

We also know that people with a high Dominance style are quick to show anger. By looking at their score on the EQ-i 2.0 Impulse Control Subscale, one would be able to determine whether the person is likely to be able to control their natural emotion of anger. In addition, the Self-Expression Composite Scale, specifically the Emotional Expression Subscale, could give the consultant insight into how constructively this person would express their emotions, especially anger. The DISC Dominance scale measures the person’s need for Independence, which is a factor in the EQ-i 2.0 report that could give more insight into how that person could best achieve a sense of independence.

The Influence Factor measures a person’s natural ability to display optimism versus pessimism and if we know their Stress Management Score, specifically, their Optimism Subscale results, we could predict how much this person’s high “I” behavior is going to contribute to their resiliency, even in the face of highly stressful events.

The EQ-i 2.0 is going to tell us what level of Emotional Self Awareness a person thinks they have and if that scale is high, it could indicate how accurate their DISC assessment results are, since DISC measures a person’s emotions, as well as behavior. If they had a low Emotional Self Awareness score, we might take a more discerning look at the results of their DISC scores.
We could also look at the Interpersonal Composite Scale and specifically the Empathy Subscale and compare the person’s results on the Steadiness Factor of the DISC Model. The DISC assessment indicates people with high “S” display high empathy and people with low “S” will struggle with displaying empathy, unless they score high on the Empathy Subscale on the EQ-i 2.0 assessment.

The results from the EQ-i 2.0 report can also give a consultant some specifics to explore regarding the person’s ability to see things as they are by looking at the Reality Subscale and comparing it to the person’s “C” factor on their DISC report, since high “C” individuals tend to be the most objective of all the behavioral styles. Another Subscale that could be examined is a potential inverse relationship between a high “C” behavioral style and the EQ-i 2.0 Flexibility Subscale, since individuals with a high “C” behavioral style may be challenged to exhibit high flexibility.

This paper is not intended to be a total comparison and correlation between these two assessments, but rather to examine some of the reasons a person might want to take both assessments to gain a more multi-dimensional insight into him/herself.

In summary, it is my belief that these two assessments, while measuring different things, can give both consultants and individuals a more in-depth understanding of the things that cause people to behave the way they do, as well as how they can improve in order to be more effective. Research shows that the higher self-awareness individuals have, the greater likelihood they will have an increased ability to evaluate their behavior and emotions and better understand the behavior and emotions of others. Thus, allowing them to choose actions that are going to result in more positive outcomes for all parties.

Judy Suiter is founder and CEO of Competitive Edge, Inc. a human resources training and consulting company offering benchmarking services, candidate and personal assessments, team building and executive coaching.