Not everyone sits comfortably in one quadrant of the DISC personality system. While some people will type as pure Drive, Influence, Support or Clarity, the system is more nuanced than that. Each quadrant on the DISC chart can be trisected (cut into three parts), which means that the DISC has 12 subtypes in total.    

Two of those subtypes involve a combination of Drive and Clarity. People who type as Drive + Clarity (D/c) or Clarity + Drive (C/d) tend to be highly task-focused and concerned with results. When combined, Drive and Clarity can create a powerful workstyle that is go-getting and direct but also clear-headed and thoughtful.

But what does it really mean to have high Drive and high Clarity in DISC? Here’s an in-depth look at these two subtypes of the DISC personality system. 

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The Two Pure Styles: Drive and Clarity

Let's start by recapping the Drive and Clarity workstyles of DISC:

Drive types:

  • Are dominant, confident and assertive
  • Focus on results
  • Are not afraid of risk, challenges or competition
  • Seek leadership roles, even when it is not their job title
  • Enjoy making decisions
  • May struggle with human relationships in the workplace
  • Can come across as cocky, intolerant and even unpredictable.

Clarity types:

  • Focus on tasks
  • Work methodically to get things done
  • Are focused on accuracy and the details
  • Are systematic and prefer not to take risks
  • Prefer a private environment over a crowded, socially-focused atmosphere
  • Are unlikely to win the “friendliest co-worker” award at work
  • May come off as too focused and too isolated. 

Now let's look at what happens when these two styles combine.

The D/c Personality: Drive Leads, Clarity Supports

People with Drive + Clarity (D/c) personalities are often capable leaders who communicate with a blunt, direct attitude. Like pure Drive types, they are efficient and dominant in the workplace - they’re set on achieving their goals. Unlike pure Drive types who may cut corners to get the job done quickly, D/cs work conscientiously to get the job done right, and they have notably high standards.

Relationships at work aren’t the highest priority to these personality types. In fact, their high expectations of others can lead to workplace disagreements if a D/c type is too forceful or rigid in their beliefs about how a job should be done. 

The C/d Personality: Clarity Leads, Drive Supports

The Clarity + Drive (C/d) personality leads with the rational efficiency of Clarity. Like pure Clarity styles, they value competency and look for tangible results above workplace relationships. But C/ds also have the go-getter determination of Drive. This means that they’re likely to take on challenges that others might not want to tackle, and are more likely than pure Clarity types to take risks when necessary.

C/ds may come off as too focused on the task at hand, and their lack of social awareness can make them appear unapproachable. They like to have complete control over a project, and they can get impatient when they’re required to work with too many people with differing opinions. 

These natural problem solvers are excellent critical thinkers with a more reserved presence on teams. They prefer to keep to themselves when possible and focus on getting the results the team needs.

How to Tell the Difference Between D/c and C/d DISC Personalities

At first glance, D/c and C/d personalities have more in common than not, but they do have innate differences that will help you tell them apart. The most glaring is their activity levels; D/c is more active and outgoing, while C/d is more reserved. But let’s look deep to get the full picture.

Strong leadership qualities versus a longing for independence

The combination of Drive + Clarity results in a working style that is bold, dynamic and outgoing. Because D/c people are focused on driving results, they often like to take the reins and lead others. While they aren’t necessarily known for being compassionate leaders, they love a challenge to push others to achieve. 

The combination of Clarity + Drive also has some of the bold drive to achieve, but since C/ds are more reserved, they prefer to do things their own way rather than leading or working alongside many people. They can work well on teams, but C/d personalities prefer to put their energy into completing their projects and being as efficient as possible without involving others. 

Single-minded approach versus a larger picture

Both C/d and D/c personalities are detail-oriented — but C/ds are more single-minded. D/c types can take a look at the wide, sweeping details to see what the big-picture end goal is, whereas C/d types can get caught up in the task at hand. They can become incredibly precise and methodical, so much so that they don’t let go of the details and lose sight of the project as a whole.

Dominant versus autonomous

D/c types are more likely to appear dominant over others than C/d types — but that doesn’t mean that C/d types don’t possess some dominant traits. The main difference is D/c types are focused on maintaining control over projects, and they find pushing others to succeed a welcome challenge. C/d types, on the other hand, almost always will choose autonomy over dominance; as a rule, they seek out roles and projects that allow them to work on their own more than with other people.

This is why C/d types make great lawyers or pilots (fields that require a great level of independence from bosses), while D/c types often succeed as managers, directors and CTOs.

Summing up High Drive and Clarity Personalities

Having a high Drive and high Clarity in DISC means you enjoy jobs that offer clear tasks that you can check off a list. You’re driven to succeed, like to have control and value independence, but the differences between D/c and C/d types are clear. D/c types are bolder and don’t mind taking charge of others. C/d types, on the other hand, are more reserved and thus value autonomy and independence in their jobs, with a clear, methodical approach to work. 

Each DISC type has its strengths and weaknesses, and once you understand your working style, you can learn how to hone your performance or find the best career for your personality.

Cianna Garrison
Cianna Garrison holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and works as a freelance writer. She fell in love with psychology and personality type theory back in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed continually learning about the 16 personality types. As an INFJ, she lives for the creative arts, and even when she isn’t working, she’s probably still writing.