Myers-Briggs vs. DISC, Which is Better?

Posted by in Career Success, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Personality | 18 comments

Many of you have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or DISC personality assessments.

After taking one or both you may be wondering which is better.

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I’d like to suggest there may be a different way to approach both assessments. Rather than ask, “which is better” ask, “what do each have to offer?”

Here’s my high level review of what each has to offer.

What They Identify

DISC identifies predictable actions and personality traits within human behavior while the MBTI identifies personal preferences in human perception and judgement. So they both measure characteristics of your personality but they approach it in slightly different ways.

DISC measures self-reported observable behavior – or how you would act in a particular situation. The MBTI measures your core personality – how you are naturally wired regardless of your environment or circumstances.

The difference is subtle, but it is an important difference.

User Friendly

How user friendly is each assessment? Both can be taken manually or online so taking them is pretty easy. They both provide a multipage .pdf report that covers your specific personality.

Generally the DISC results are easier to comprehend right away, but they don’t get into the details of your personality. Whereas the MBTI results rely on having a small amount of knowledge of the theory the instrument is based on. Also it can be more difficult to remember your personality type six months later if you haven’t been reviewing it.

Accuracy

According to the MBTI manual, about 75% of people agree with their MBTI results.

About 2/3 of people come out the same if they retake the assessment. Of those people 93% have 3 out of the 4 personality dimensions the same. DISC is considered a very reliable and valid instrument as well. Although I don’t have a specific percentage, a very high percentage of people receive the same results if they take it more than once. For those of you who might be really into this stuff you can view the DISC validity and reliability report here.

Supplemental Information

Each of the assessment reports can provide additional information beyond just your personality results. DISC can provide you with a description of your general style and give it a name, such as Advisor, Developer, Persuader, etc. You can also get a list of historical and/or Biblical people who shared your personality.

The DISC report can provide you with a communication guide for your personality, both how you can communicate better and how others can communicate better with you. It can also include sections on how to navigate the workplace, your strengths in leadership, and types of careers your personality may enjoy.

The MBTI has multiple types of reports that can be provided that will be based on your personality type results. You can receive a basic report with just your results, a career report, communication style report, conflict style report, decision making style report, and a stress management report. Each of the reports has a different focus but they are all based on your personality type results.

The career report provides you with your personality type, your preferred work tasks, preferred work environment, and action steps you can take to enhance your career.

Also, this report provides information about how your type affects your career exploration and career development. It also provides a list about the types of jobs people with this type have reported enjoying and ranks them by their reported popularity among your type.

 My Thoughts

I really like both assessments. I like the DISC assessment because it’s easy to understand right away and you’re more likely to remember which style was your dominant style. I like the MBTI for it’s thorough explanation of the complexity of human personality. I find that each assessment can compliment the other and if possible I recommend taking both to get a full picture of your personality.

However, if I were forced to choose just one instrument to recommend I would choose the MBTI. I feel that it does a better job of providing a more detailed view of the complexity of our personalities.

I’ve experienced the transforming effect of the MBTI myself as well as observed others take action based on their results to make their careers and lives better.

Ultimately that’s the goal regardless of the assessment you use.

 

Question: Which one do you like better, the MBTI or DISC? Why?

 

(If you’re interested in taking the MBTI or DISC you can buy them here.)

  • Interesting! I literally was thinking about this topic this morning and then saw your post pop up in my inbox! Talk about timing. 🙂 I’m very happy you took the time to break both tests down and explain the benefits of each. I lean toward the DiSC, mostly because I am familiar with it, however after reading your descriptions of the MBTI, I am intrigued enough that I think I may take that one as well.

    You have a gift for breaking things down and explaining them in laymen’s terms. 🙂

    • After reading a little on the Myers Briggs, I think I would be an ENFP. Now I’m very curious what the actual results would say! I am considering eventually signing up for a coaching session with you, centered around the Myers Briggs.

      • I really think you will like it Alana. I’d love for us to have an MBTI coaching session. I’ll send you an email with some additional details as a follow up.

        • I’m looking forward to our coaching session for the MBTI! Especially to have you walk me through it to understand it more clearly. I’m sure I’ll write a post about it afterward too. 😉

          • I’m looking forward to our MBTI coaching session as well! I absolutely love having these sessions and my hope is you will love it too. I would be honored if you wrote a post about it Alana.

    • Hey, thanks Alana. Sometimes the MBTI and personality assessments in general can be a little complicated if you haven’t had experience with them. I really think they are valuable so I’m glad you think I was able to explain them clearly. Can you let me know what you’ll be thinking about next Friday so I can know what I’m going to write about next week?

  • I am biased to the MBTI because that is what I know. I have not completed the DISC assessment, but have read much about it. I agree with your descriptions, Adam. I do find that without great explanation, the MBTI can be very overwhelming to a client. That explanation can be somewhat simplistic or very in depth and a client will get some out of it. Thanks for the descriptions, Adam!

    • I agree Nick, the MBTI can be overwhelming to someone when they are exposed to it for the first time. There has to be a foundational understanding of Jung’s theory in order to get it. But I find that most people pick up on it pretty quickly, especially when you get into the nuts and bolts of how they experience the world. Thanks for your comment Nick.

  • I think it would be valuable to take both of them. Great points Adam.

    • Thanks Dan, yes I would recommend taking both of them if possible. You get two slightly different perspectives.

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  • PaulVandermill

    Hi Adam,

    I took the MBTI roughly 10 years ago as a graduate course and do not have the actual score sheet. Seems to me that there was an area or two where the preference was not very strong, in which case I assume it could have gone more than one way. In your opinion, is there likely to be any utility in taking the inventory again? Is there likely to be much change? I’m curious. I am an ISTP with the I being very clear and strong but don’t recall how clear the other 3 preferences are. Thanks,

    • Hi Paul,
      Two-thirds of people who retake the MBTI will have the same results. Of the one-third who don’t have the same results they are usually only different by one letter. If the ISTP personality type did not resonate with you then I would recommend taking it again. However, if you think the ISTP type is a good fit then there may be no need to retake it.

  • Mark T.

    No suprise that many of you were familiar with just one of the two and leaned that direction. I’m very familiar with each and would offer that which one is best depends largely on what you are hoping to gain. I agree that MBTI has the capacity for deeper dives, but that takes a great deal of time, time you may want to devote to other concepts – and time is often our biggest restriction. Having said that, I have a strong preference for DiSC (and it gaining ground on MBTI quickly). It’s probably stronger than MBTI for shallower dives; easier to assess, understand, remember and apply. And, having facilitated both, I find participants are much more receptive to DiSC and therefore, tend to embrace and use it more and longer.

    • Yes, Mark the DISC assessment is a great tool. I really like what you said about determining the best one depends on what you’re hoping to gain. They each offer great insight and information so the best one may be dependent on what the person hopes to do with the results.

  • KristeenBullwinkle

    Just wanted to point out that there are many DISC assessments, but only one Everything DiSC assessment. That’s the one referenced by your link to for the validity and reliability report. It refers ONLY to Everything DiSC and not any of the other ones based on the DISC model. There are several out there with no research to support them at all. So take care when purchasing to make sure you know what you’re getting.

  • mtnhiker

    I have done both the MBTI and the DISC, I took the MBTI close to 30 years ago and the DISC about a year ago.
    The author says that one is more likely to remember the DISC results. My own observation – I forgot the DISC results – and even where I put them within 2 weeks. I have always remembered the MBTI results.
    Reason I am writing this – we have been directed to a meeting to review our DISC results and I wanted to compare both assessments.
    One of the shortcomings that seem to be pointed at for the MBTI is the 16 combinations of personality, vs the simpler 4 for DISC. By that reasoning having 2 or 1 would make the test easier to remember.
    From the guinea pig standpoint – I prefer the MBTI.

    • I prefer the MBTI as well. It captures the uniqueness and complexity more than the DISC in my opinion. Hope your meeting with your MBTi is fruitful.

  • Candace

    Author was smart to boil down the differences to simplicity vs complexity. Like software — the more it can do, the more powerful, the more complicated it is. If you want quick tips, shorter learning curve – go with DiSC. If you want deeper understanding and willing to go on longer journey, go with MBTI. BOTH will still move someone forward in their self-understanding, communication, and ability to work with others.