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I want to address a common misconception in our circles today: the idea that to be a successful leader or business owner, one must possess a high ‘D’ (Dominance) trait in the DISC model of human behavior. It’s a belief that equates leadership with assertiveness, control, and decisiveness. But is this the whole picture?

Diverse Leadership Styles:

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that effective leadership comes in many forms. While a high-D individual might naturally take charge, this isn’t the only way to lead. Inspirational leaders often have a high ‘I’ (Influence), displaying excellent communication skills and the ability to motivate through vision and connection. Those with a high ‘S’ (Steadiness) bring empathy, team cohesion, and a nurturing approach to leadership. And let’s not forget our high ‘C’ (Conscientiousness) leaders, who lead through meticulous planning, detail orientation, and systematic approaches.

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” – Stephen R. Covey

The Myth of the One-Size-Fits-All Leader:

The idea that there’s a one-size-fits-all model for leadership is not just outdated; it’s limiting. It overlooks the unique strengths and perspectives that different personality types bring to the table. Each style has its own set of advantages that can be harnessed for effective leadership and business management.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” – John C. Maxwell

Embracing Your Unique Style:

If you find yourself leaning towards a lower ‘D’, embrace it! Your style is not a hindrance but a different toolkit for success. The key is understanding your strengths and how to apply them effectively in your business. For instance, if you’re a high ‘I’, your ability to inspire and engage can be a game-changer in team building and customer relations. As a high ‘S’, your steadiness and reliability create a trusting and loyal work environment. And as a high ‘C’, your attention to detail and systematic approach ensure quality and efficiency.

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born–that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” – Warren Bennis

Balanced Leadership:

Moreover, successful leadership often involves balancing different traits. It’s about knowing when to be assertive and when to step back and listen. It’s about making decisive choices but also being open to feedback and new ideas. A great leader adapts their style to meet the needs of their team and the demands of the situation.

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” – Nelson Mandela


So, do you need a high-D to be a great leader or business owner? The answer is a resounding no. What you need is self-awareness, the ability to leverage your inherent strengths, and the willingness to grow and adapt. Remember, leadership is not a one-trait show. It’s a multifaceted journey that requires a blend of qualities, many of which you already possess. Build your company around its foundation…you.