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When Games of Thrones and DISC collide

When Games of Thrones and DISC collide

  • Fudia Smartt
  • 27th May 2019


As a Game of Thrones fan(atic), it is hard to accept that the show is over and I thank you in advance for your patience and understanding at this difficult time. While I feel, like most Game of Thrones (GOT) fans, that the final season has been its weakest, one thing remains true; the characters created by George R.R Martin and brought to the small screen are complex.  As such, they provide a perfect opportunity to examine the DISC© personality model.

What is DISC?

Disc is a psychometric test, which measures patterns of behaviour i.e. people’s tendencies and preferences. 

The model sets out four quadrants of personality, namely: D for Dominance, I for Influence, S for Steadiness, and C for Compliance.  Each quadrant reflects different personality traits.  Like the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the DISC model is based on the work of Carl Jung on personality types, and is used in workplaces across the world to help with work productivity, to increase employee engagement and improve teamwork, amongst other things.  

For those who find MBTI too technical, in my view DISC is far more user-friendly yet provides enough information to better understand oneself and others.

The Four Quadrants – A GOT case study

D is for Dominance (Extroverted, decisive, confident, results-driven and task-focused).   When thinking of D’s, Queen[1] Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen provides a great illustration.   Positive traits: Queen Daenerys (or Dany to her friends) certainly has shown herself to be decisive.  From putting herself in a burning pyre to bring her dragons to life to building an army far from Westeros, Dany has exhibited confidence and determination in her mission to claim the Iron Throne.   Weaknesses: D’s can be perceived as being rash due to their desire for action. This can also make them appear abrupt.  Those who score highly as D’s may also be prone to anger (“Dracarys” anyone?).   Coaching tip: If I were coaching a D (or perhaps the Hand to Queen Dany), I would work with them on developing more patience for others, so as to build better working relationships. I would also encourage them to spend more time looking into the details to avoid potentially costly mistakes.  For those who have seen season 8, I trust you can see how Queen Dany could have benefitted from this!    
I is for Influence (Extroverted, People-focused, friendly, talkative, optimistic). Lord Tyrion Lannister from Casterly Rock provides an example of some of the I traits (although I think he also exhibits a number of C traits).    Positive traits: I’s, like Tyrion, are known for being the life of party with a good sense of humour.  They are good storytellers and very talkative, as shown by Tyrion who was even threatened with death by Ser Jorah Mormont due to his over-talking!    Weaknesses:  Due to their live in the moment type attitude, I’s can be perceived as disorganised, overly-optimistic and ego-centric.      Coaching tip:   Personal growth areas of I’s are to learn to talk less and listen more; to focus on the details and to work on their follow-through.  Perhaps if Tyrion had focused on the details more he would have made less mistakes as Hand for the Queen!  
S is for Steadiness (Introverted, likeable, diplomatic, organised, indecisive and passive). Eddard (“Ned”) Stark of House Stark.  Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.  Unfortunately, given the bloodiness of GOT, of course S types would be in short supply and unlikely to survive!   Positive traits:   S’s are known to be diplomatic and loyal and Ned Stark displayed these traits in spades. Calm, patient and consistent, S’s are great team-players.   Weaknesses:   S’s can be perceived as inflexible and resistant to change.  Additionally, due to their desire for everyone to get along, S’s can be prone to being passive-aggressive.   Coaching tip: We live in an ever-changing world and S’s need to work on their ability to flex and proactively deal with change.  Perhaps, has Ned Stark had such coaching he may not have lost his head down in King’s Landing!                                                
C is for Compliance (Introverted, idealistic, self-disciplined,  high-standards with a focus on quality and accuracy. Task focused). Maester Samwell (“Sam”) Tarly of House Tarley (formerly of the Black. Watch) exhibits a number of C traits.    Positive traits:   Due to their desire to get things right, C’s can be self-disciplined, conscientious, analytical and talented.  Sam Tarly has certainly shown his intelligence and self-discipline, having survived the training at the Citadel and figured out a number of things, including Jon Snow’s parentage!    Weaknesses:  C’s such as Sam. can be perceived as being hard to please, impractical and very sensitive to criticism.    Coaching tip:  To avoid being bogged down in the detail, C’s can need to focus on doing the right things instead of being right.  There can also be a need to be decisive and to be less critical of others.

So could any of the GOT characters have benefited from coaching from a DISC practitioner such as myself?  Possibly so. And who knows, it could have changed the outcome of who was left standing by season 8!

Why not take the test yourself – a free version is available is here.

[1] , First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Lady of Dragonstone, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons

  • Fudia Smartt
  • 27th May 2019