Influence in the DISC Personality System

In the DISC Personality System, those who have the Influence style prioritize building relationships. Influence types are energetic and enthusiastic people who enjoy collaborating with others to build strong, cohesive teams. They are inspiring and persuasive, but can struggle to complete a task with their tendency to become distracted and disorganized.

Influence is one of the four main personality types in the DISC personality assessment. It describes behavior that is outgoing, enthusiastic and persuasive. If you're an Influence type, you tend to care about connecting with and influencing the people around you, and you excel in forming relationships. You may be described as a people-person. You enjoy being the lifeblood of a team.

Influence is useful in roles that require you to bring people together by using your natural warmth and charisma. However, it doesn't work as well for people who spend a lot of time working on their own. Highly Influential people thrive on human connection and may be frustrated when they are forced to perform isolated, impersonal tasks.

Influence Style Overview

The “I” of the DISC system stands for Influence as that's exactly what these types do best. When performing well, Influence types are energetic, passionate and encouraging. They are typically very social and enjoy talking to and motivating people. Collaboration is their strong suit and they excel when working in groups to bring out the best in the team.

In the workplace, Influence people are likely to appear:

  • Engaging
  • Persuasive
  • Enthusiastic
  • Friendly
  • Optimistic
  • Active
  • Charming
  • Sociable
  • Encouraging
  • Innovative

They are less likely to appear:

  • Passive
  • Reserved
  • Pessimistic
  • Quiet
  • Inattentive
  • Analytical
  • Precise
  • Skeptical
  • Rigid
  • Modest

Work Style and Talents of an Influence Type

For Influence types, work isn't about the task at hand –  it's about the relationships they build in order to get things done. Their enthusiasm and sunny disposition make them excellent team players, and they are at their best when working with others in environments where they can express their opinions and rally people around a goal. Influence types are strong communicators and have a knack for getting people on board with their plans.

On the downside, Influence people can become easily distracted or overwhelmed when faced with a large number of tasks as they may prioritize relationships over actual work. They often need to work on staying on-task and following through on commitments in order to be productive.

Strengths of an Influence type

Influence people tend to be good at:

  • Communicating effectively
  • Generating lots of ideas
  • Motivating others
  • Building relationships
  • Meeting new people
  • Creating enthusiasm
  • Bringing teams and groups together
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Having a broad network of contacts
  • Passionately persuading people to their point of view

Blind Spots of an Influence Type

Influence people may find it difficult to:

  • Stay focused on one task for an extended period
  • Analyze data in a logical and organized way
  • Retain facts and figures
  • Make decisions without consulting others
  • Enforce rules, regulations or procedures
  • Work alone or without support
  • Work in a steady environment that lacks excitement or drama
  • Say 'no' to another project when they already have too much on their plate
  • Put results ahead of their own popularity

Ideal Work Environment

Influence types will do best work in a busy environment that allows them to interact with people and collaborate on projects. They thrive in settings where they can express their opinions, get feedback and have the opportunity to influence others. Management styles that encourage their openness and allow them to be creative are essential for Influence types. They should also be given tasks that allow them to use their natural social skills and communicate with people, rather than perform solitary tasks or crunch data in complete isolation.

Influence people tend to work best when they have:

  • The freedom to express their own ideas
  • A chance to interact with others
  • Opportunities to be creative and influential
  • An environment that values communication, collaboration and relationships

They may feel drained when they have:

  • A lot of data to analyze or processes to manage
  • Unclear tasks and expectations
  • An environment that is focused on individual performance over teamwork
  • Little opportunity for collaboration or influence 

Careers for Influence Types

Influence types gravitate towards careers that involve lots of communication and teamwork. They do well in customer-facing roles where they can build relationships and get people on board with ideas. Compatible careers include sales representative, public relations professional, marketing executive, customer service representative, teacher and motivational speaker.

The Influence Type on a Team

Influence types are natural team players and thrive in team settings – but it has to be the right kind of team. The hardest thing for an Influence type to accept is rejection, and the ‘togetherness’ of the team is often an important factor in their job satisfaction. They want to be open and sociable with their team members and may not work as well with less gregarious types. 

On a team, Influence people tend to work well with others who ...

  • Listen to and encourage their ideas
  • Respect their opinions
  • Let them take the lead in conversations and projects
  • Can follow through on tasks when the Influence style cannot

Influence types may have more difficulty working with those who …

  • Keep to themselves 
  • Are overly analytical
  • Don't appreciate their enthusiasm and contributions
  • Focus on individual performance over team collaboration

On a team, Influence people tend to excel at:

  • Building relationships
  • Bringing other less outgoing styles together
  • Generating enthusiasm for collective goals
  • Pep talks and motivational support
  • Bringing out the best in others 

On a team, Influence people need to watch out for:

  • Getting distracted from tasks
  • Not sticking to agreed-upon plans 
  • Failing to follow through on commitments
  • Being more concerned with how people feel than what the team is trying to achieve
  • An unwillingness to enforce rules or procedures 

The Influence Type as a Leader

The Influence type's chief strength is their ability to influence and inspire others, and that makes them great persuasive leaders. They are natural collaborators and will often be the first to bring everyone together in order to come up with creative solutions for problems. However, since they are so relationship-focused, they tend to prioritize human needs over bottom-line goals.

As leaders, Influence people tend to excel at:

  • Inspiring team members
  • Fostering collaboration and teamwork
  • Encouraging creativity and innovation
  • Motivating their team to succeed
  • Building relationships and trust among the team

They may need to watch out for:

  • Being overly optimistic about the outcome of projects
  • Prioritizing human needs and relationships over goals
  • Seeking excitement over performance
  • Avoiding giving the bad news
  • Being unrealistic when appraising others
  • Being constantly on the go

Communicating as and with an Influence Type

Influence types are natural communicators. They appreciate being heard and listened to and will happily talk and talk and talk. When communicating with others, they may need to slow down and moderate their enthusiasm so their message is not lost in a sea of words.

Their desire to be open and sociable can lead Influence types to be extremely candid, even tactless, when communicating with others. While they can usually rely on their gift of the gab to talk themselves out of a difficult situation, learning to be diplomatic may be a more effective approach. 

Some helpful tips for communicating as an Influence type:

  • Be specific with data and practical examples
  • Stick to one issue at a time
  • Avoid exaggeration
  • Focus on the end goal
  • Be patient and listen actively to others
  • Take care not to get defensive when someone challenges your point of view

Some helpful tips for communicating with an Influence type:

  • Show appreciation for their ideas
  • Focus on building a relationship and gaining their trust
  • Listen actively and show respect for their opinions
  • Understand they may interrupt you; focus on keeping the conversation on track
  • Ask for practical examples to keep them focused
  • Be aware of how your words or body language may be interpreted

Influence Types in Conflict

When in conflict, Influence types may try to avoid confrontation at first. They generally prefer non-confrontational methods of resolving conflict and believe that most problems can be solved through dialogue and compromise. However, when pushed too far, an Influence type is likely to respond with a passionate defense of their beliefs. They may deal with the conflict in dramatic ways and need support to help them focus their energy on constructive solutions.

When in conflict, Influence types tend to:

  • Talk around the issue instead of focusing on practical solutions
  • Gloss over personal differences
  • Be overly dramatic and emotional
  • Try to remain popular and well-liked
  • Argue for the sake of it
  • Resort to sarcasm and jokes

Some helpful tips for managing conflict with an Influence type:

  • Stay as calm as possible
  • Focus on a positive outcome rather than blame or accusations
  • Be patient and understanding of their needs
  • Listen actively to their ideas and feelings
  • Ask questions that bring focus to the conflict situation

Influence Types Under Stress

When under stress, Influence types tend to take an all-or-nothing approach. They may become overwhelmed by their emotions and need to withdraw in order to process what is going on, or they may go all-in and overindulge in people, tasks or pleasure-seeking. It is important to provide support and reassurance during these times, as they can be easily influenced by the emotions of those around them.

Some helpful tips for managing stress as an Influence type:

  • Take time to process your emotions
  • Express your feelings in a healthy way
  • Do things in moderation
  • Talk things out with a trusted friend or coworker
  • Delegate if you have too much on you plate
  • Slow down and sleep

The Influence Subtypes

While all Influence types tend to share the same general characteristics, not everyone will have a pure Influence workstyle. In fact, there are two subtypes within the Influence style that have some distinct differences. The two Influence subtypes are:

I/d (Influence + Drive) - This subtype is a combination of high Influence and high Drive. I/d types tend to be goal-oriented and charismatic, often taking on leadership roles. They use positive, enthusiastic language to motivate others, create novel solutions to problems, and bring energy and a sense of adventure to teams.

Good career options for this type include entrepreneur, manager, salesperson, marketing professional, consultant.

I/s (Influence + Support) - This subtype is a combination of high Influence and high Support. I/s types tend to be harmonious and friendly and focus on creating a sense of belonging on teams. They take life as it comes and avoid criticism and confrontation.

Good career options for this type include coach, counselor, human resources professional and teacher.

Famous People with the Influence Personality Type

Some famous people who are believed to have the Influence personality type include:

  • Steve Jobs – Entrepreneur and co-founder of Apple
  • Oprah Winfrey – TV show host, actress, producer and philanthropist
  • Will Smith – Actor
  • Muhammad Ali – Professional boxer and activist

How Rare is the Influence Personality Type?

The four quadrants of the DISC personality system are not equally distributed in the general population, although Influence is a well-represented type. According to a 2019 Extended DISC Global Validation Study, 28% of people globally are pure Influence styles, compared with 31% for Clarity, 32% for Support and just 9% for Drive.

Tips for Success as an Influence Type

Influence types are at their best when they can use their natural abilities to build relationships and trust. They need to feel like they are appreciated and their opinions are valued. Influence types need to be careful not to come across as impulsive or easily distracted, however, as over-promising and under-delivering will soon turn people off. 

To increase your effectiveness, try these 10 tips for success:

  1. Focus on completing a few core projects instead of constantly seeking 'more'
  2. Practice active listening to better understand other perspectives
  3. Ask questions to get a better idea of the situation before taking action
  4. Ask for help with the details
  5. Balance your natural optimism with the reality of the situation
  6. Express your ideas at a calmer pace to bring more people on board
  7. Be patient with those who are slower to think and act
  8. Remain open-minded and willing to compromise when necessary
  9. Be firmer with people who are not performing
  10. Pace yourself and exercise control over your actions and commitments

To learn more about the Influence type and discover whether it fits you, take the free DISC personality test.

Jayne Thompson
Jayne is a B2B tech copywriter and the editorial director here at Truity. When she’s not writing to a deadline, she’s geeking out about personality psychology and conspiracy theories. Jayne is a true ambivert, barely an INTJ, and an Enneagram One. She lives with her husband and daughters in the UK. Find Jayne at White Rose Copywriting.