Are Your C- Style Colleagues Hand Brakes Or GPS?

Cee: Let me sleep on it.

Dee (thinks): Cee must have a ladder to get in bed. I can never get a quick decision!

D-Style – C-Style conflicts are a recurring feature of Team Dynamics. Left alone they can negatively impact harmony, performance and staff retention.

Is C-Style behaviour an obstacle or a compass and course-correcting device that is essential for sustained success?

The C-Style is widely misunderstood and presents something of a mystery. In this email we unpacked the C-Style behavioural toolkit in the DISC Framework.

We present the characteristics in the form of a persona - Cee – even though there is no example of anyone using C-Style behaviours exclusively. We all access the four DISC behavioural toolkits at some point and so we end up being a blend of the four styles to varying degrees.


Cee represents individuals who have a preference for the C-Style in our DISCerning Communication framework. Reserved/Task-oriented, Conscientious. Blue zone.

Image courtesy of Extended DISC International

While colleagues may be open and even make themselves vulnerable, Cee builds a wall around things personal. Cee is respectful and professional, but it is difficult to miss the “No Entry” sign protecting Cee from intrusions.

The C-Style funecdotes below will help you to better appreciate Cee.

Careful/Cautious: Cee responds cautiously to tasks. Volunteering spontaneously without due process is not wise. Cee only ventures when the risks are clearly identified and adequate protection is in place.

Curious: Cee has an inquisitive mind that places a high value on information. As a child Cee caught centipedes and checked to see if there were 100 legs.

Compliance wanting: Cee fusses that people make rules and fail to enforce them. Cee is engaged as a gatekeeper at a large event and told to accept only green tickets. One of the organizers wants to access the gate controlled by Cee. He shows various forms of identification to no avail as Cee insists that as an organizer getting a green ticket should be easy.

Criticisms: Cee is accused of being constantly negative. Cee responds by asking if it would be better to warn someone that they are about to fall into a pit or to compliment them on their tie. Cee provides healthy feedback – no sugar added!

Correct: Cee abhors mistakes and may reject a written request on the basis of typos. It is rumoured that Cee proof-reads photocopies.

Camouflage: Cee appreciates the value of “masks” in preserving privacy and may use a hand over the mouth to hide emotions.

Conformist: Cee likes rules and is able to quote from the Policy Manual.

Consistent: Cee is lost without a logical game plan that is followed consistently.

The young man was surprised at Cee’s reaction to his being late pointing out that he was usually early. That prompted a stern lecture from Cee on responsibility and the fact that we are required to do what is required ALL the time and not most of the time.

Cool: “I am not here to win friends.”

Cost conscious: “Being frugal in small things produces readiness for big things.” Cee only buys after making an extensive search for the best available option.

Colour blind?: Cee is reputed to have no knowledge of the colour grey (ambiguity). Things are either black or white.

Citing evidence: As the religious debate raged on, it was noticeable that whilst others gave personal opinions and spoke in general terms, Cee consistently presented precise quotations of the Scriptures with the supporting book, chapter and verse references.

Count the cost: Cee is unable to understand the tolerance for under-performance. People need to be held accountable for their failings.

Commentary: Cee dislikes blurting and wonders why there needs to be play by play commentary on each day’s activities. A close of play summary will suffice.

Cee sees no value in small talk and thinks that if there is nothing to be said, then that is precisely what should be said.

Courtroom: Cee takes nothing for granted and assumes nothing. A question is never long in coming and one rarely comes alone. Cee understands the value of knowledge and information and pays careful, if critical, attention to what is being said.

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