How does DiSC relate to Emotional Intelligence?

Since Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book was released in 1995, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has captivated the corporate world. Goleman himself was surprised at how quickly the business world latched onto this new theory particularly in the areas of leadership and employee development. With the increased attention on EQ we wanted to compare between Everything DiSC and EQ assessments on the market, specifically the EIQ-2 assessment.

What is EQ?

At its core, EQ allows a person to identify their emotions so that they may understand how those feelings influence their actions. Goleman was fascinated with EQ because, unlike IQ, a person is able to develop their own Emotional Intelligence  skills. Furthermore, it’s now understood that someone who develops their emotional intelligence could experience a larger amount of personal success.

Research has shown how a person with a high EQ can interpret nonverbal clues to understand how others are feeling. They are also better at determining what situations create stress or motivate themselves. These skills can lead a person to develop better negotiation  or conflict resolution skills, both of which are highly valuable in any workplace.

What does an EQ Test Measure?

There are many EI or EIQ tests and assessments available on the market. For the purpose of this post, we will examine the EIQ-2 assessment that is published by Success Dynamics International. Like a DiSC assessment, the EIQ-2 is self-assessed, meaning the questionnaire will have the respondent answer a questionnaire to measure their own behaviors. Many EI / EIQ (including EIQ-2) assessments don’t measure emotional intelligence per-se’, rather they measure behavior within the context of emotional intelligence. The behavioral questions that are asked measure the following:

  • Emotional Self-Awareness
  • Emotional Self-Management
  • Motivations
  • Empathy / Social Awareness
  • Social Management (Relationships)

Comparing DiSC to EIQ-2

At first glance it might seem like DiSC and Emotional Intelligence (EIQ-2) are identifying two very different sides of a person. Afterall, DiSC doesn’t measure emotions. DiSC measures a person’s natural and adapted behaviors, but we can identify which behaviors (if called upon) would cause a person stress or motivation, which is a primary set of emotions.

To understand this better, let’s look at how DiSC actually measures a person’s behavior. Any DiSC test measures two primary behaviors: outward activity level (Fast Pace or Moderate Pace) and how a person views their environment (Skeptical or Accepting).


Figure 1.1 Map of a person behavior if they are inclined towards a ‘Moderate Pace’ and an ‘Accepting’ Environment.


As an example, a person who measures further on the Accepting side and the Moderate-Paced side would fall in the bottom-right quadrant and would receive a S-style on the DiSC scale (See Figure 1.1).

A person with this style would find enjoyment when collaborating with others. On the other hand, they would be uncomfortable when having to give unpleasant feedback or needing to address problems directly.

With this simple exercise, we see that while DiSC and an EIQ-2 assessment provide reports with indications that are completely different. However their findings actually complement each other. DiSC can provide the ‘why’ we feel the way we feel, where EIQ-2 shows how well we manage those same feelings.

If we continue with the prior example, that same S-style person might find on their EIQ-2 assessment that they also scored low with ‘Assertiveness Behaviors’ under the Self-Awareness EQ. Using their DiSC assessment, they could work with the EIQ-2 worksheets to better identify their emotions and why they behave in certain circumstances.

It is important to highlight that both EIQ-2 and Everything DiSC provide this information as a way for people to understand their natural styles as a way to improve their own life and working relationships. While Everything DiSC isn’t promoted as a tool to learn about emotional intelligence, it can clearly help if utilized with one of those tools.