Many of the problems I see in businesses — if not relationships in general — stem from either a misunderstanding of others or a focus on our challenges rather than our strengths. So I’m doing a 4-part Dear Coach series on the DISC behavioral types to help us better recognize our own motivations as well as others’. Today I’m featuring The I, who is The Influencer.

With a need to pepper most tasks with fun, their path toward a goal may not always be a straight line, but it definitely will be an experience. Influencers are the world’s optimists. They are guided largely by their emotions and the belief that almost anything is possible—they just need to find a way. They also thrive when accepted. A smile paired with “Thank You!” or “Terrific Job!” will win you great loyalty from someone who’s genuinely eager to be appreciated. 

That need for social acceptance is both a driving force and an Achilles’ heel of the I style. Their need to connect and communicate, their charming persuasiveness, and their natural ability to befriend others make them highly productive in people-oriented industries. However, Is need to beware that their eagerness to please and their emotionalism can sometimes fog their objectivity and cause them to attach themselves to ideas or people before all the facts are in.

Each of the DISC styles has a specific emotional motivator that tends to guide their decision making. Sensitive as they are, it’s fortunate for Is that they are motivated by optimism. They rebound quickly in their confidence that tomorrow is indeed another day. Similarly to the D style, Is like to keep things moving along without getting bogged down in too many details. However, where the D is driving for results, the I is seeking out fun and friendship. In work or play, Is must enjoy what they do and who they interact with, or they become bored. Their near constant need for variety can be difficult to fill, as well as make them prone to flit from idea to idea. They are sprinters, not marathoners.

It’s that combination of few details, much hopefulness, and easy distraction that can cause others to view high Is as “Pollyannas.” Is can lack the concrete facts that typically root solid decisions, trusting instead their own feelings. A talkative and emotional group, Is sometimes get off task and share more information than others can comfortably hear. But, Is who master their gift of the gab and adapt to the listener’s style are highly effective at connecting with and influencing others. Think of Oprah. There’s a reason why she taped her show for 24 years in front of a live audience. Is feed on the energy in the room. For someone as dynamic and influential as Oprah, that sense of immediacy and connection is simply essential to her being.

In business, gregarious Influencers generate enthusiasm for ideas and excel at motivating their team. Their personableness makes them excellent for business development, as they tend to be top revenue producers. What others may perceive as a lack of a solid plan is an Influencer’s ability to view life as an organic, ongoing process. If they attempt something and it doesn’t work out, their optimism enables them to stand up, brush themselves off, and move on to the next idea. It isn’t that they don’t learn; it’s that their energies are concentrated in their belief that they can always recover. While this can be viewed as flakey, an advantage to having an I on your team is their ability to adapt. Is help guide their teams to go where the social current takes them—usually putting them at the forefront of trends and sales. When they curb their chattiness, the Is’ warmth and energy can shine through in wonderfully infectious ways.

To sum up, Is are a gregarious, charming, and energetic group whose relationships are a boon to any organization. Their genuine affection for people and sense of humor offer a boost of good energy to those around them. For excellent communication, sales, and a shot of fresh enthusiasm, you want an I on your team.

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Small Business, Big Voices: Episode 19