You might be considering one (or both) of these two popular personality tests - so which should you choose?
April 17, 2024

HBDI (Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument) vs. DiSC: We Review These Two Leading Personality Assessments

You might be considering one (or both) of these two popular personality tests - so which should you choose?

You might be considering one (or both) of these two popular personality tests - so which should you choose?


HBDI and DiSC are two leading personality assessments, each offering unique insights. HBDI evaluates thinking preferences across four quadrants (analytical, practical, relational, and experimental) to enhance communication and collaboration. DiSC focuses on four primary behavior styles (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness) for better team dynamics. Choosing between these tests depends on the desired outcomes and specific needs of individuals or organizations.

Looking for a test to understand your team chemistry as a whole? Try TeamDynamics instead.

In this article:

In the ever-growing landscape of personality assessments, the battle between HBDI and DiSC has been the subject of much debate. Both assessments have made their mark in personal and professional development, promising to unlock the secrets of human behavior, communication, and thinking preferences. But how do they truly measure up against one another? That's precisely what we're here to find out!

In this comprehensive blog post, we'll delve into the backgrounds, methodologies, and practical applications of HBDI (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument) and DiSC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness). We'll weigh their pros and cons, and evaluate their effectiveness in helping individuals and teams achieve personal growth, enhanced communication, and workplace harmony.

Join us on this insightful journey as we peel back the layers of these two popular personality assessments and determine which one, if any, emerges as the ultimate tool for self-discovery and professional development. So, buckle up and get ready to dive deep into the fascinating world of HBDI and DiSC!

Backgrounds of HBDI and DiSC

The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) was developed by Ned Herrmann in the late 1970s. Herrmann, a former manager at General Electric, was inspired by the research of Roger Sperry, who discovered the differences in the functioning of the left and right brain hemispheres. HBDI was created to help individuals understand their thinking preferences and, in turn, improve productivity and communication in the workplace.

The DiSC model, developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston in the 1920s, was later adapted into an assessment tool by Walter Clarke and John Geier. DiSC is based on Marston's theory that human behavior can be categorized into four primary dimensions: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. The assessment aims to help individuals understand their behavior and communication styles and adapt to others in the workplace.

Methodologies of DiSC and HBDI

HBDI assesses thinking preferences across four quadrants, which correspond to different areas of the brain: Analytical (left cerebral), Practical (left limbic), Relational (right limbic), and Experimental (right cerebral). Individuals are evaluated based on a series of questions, and their thinking preferences are mapped onto the quadrants, resulting in a personalized profile.

DiSC measures an individual's behavior and communication preferences along four dimensions: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C). Individuals respond to a series of statements, and their preferences are plotted on a circular graph, resulting in a profile that reflects their unique combination of these dimensions.

DiSC HBDI (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument_
Advantages 1. Improves communication: DiSC helps individuals understand their own and others' communication styles, leading to more effective interactions and reduced misunderstandings.
2. Enhances self-awareness: DiSC provides insights into individual behavior patterns, allowing for personal growth and better adaptation to different situations.
3. Increases workplace harmony: By understanding different communication and behavior styles, individuals can work more effectively with diverse colleagues.
1. Enhances self-awareness: HBDI helps individuals understand their thinking preferences, leading to increased self-awareness and improved decision-making.
2. Facilitates communication: By understanding their own and others' thinking preferences, individuals can adapt their communication styles for more effective interactions.
3. Promotes creativity and problem-solving: HBDI encourages individuals to tap into different thinking styles, fostering creativity and better problem-solving.
Disadvantages 1. Limited scope: DiSC focuses on behavior and communication styles, without addressing other aspects of personality, such as motivations or emotional patterns.
2. Potential for oversimplification: DiSC's four-dimensional model may oversimplify complex human behavior and interactions.
3. Lack of focus on team dynamics: Like HBDI, DiSC does not specifically address the complex dynamics of a team environment.
1. Limited scope: HBDI focuses solely on thinking preferences and does not address other aspects of personality or behavior.
2. Complexity: HBDI's quadrant model can be challenging for some individuals to understand and apply.
3. Lack of focus on team dynamics: HBDI does not specifically address how different thinking preferences interact within a team setting.

In summary, HBDI and DiSC both have unique backgrounds and methodologies, with HBDI focusing on thinking preferences and DiSC on behavior and communication styles. Each assessment has its pros and cons, with neither explicitly designed to address team dynamics. Understanding their strengths and limitations can help individuals

Practical Applications of Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument and DiSC

The practical applications of DiSC and HBDI extend across various areas of personal and professional development, including self-awareness, communication, leadership, and decision-making. Here's a breakdown of some of the primary practical applications of each assessment:

DiSC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness):

  1. Self-awareness: DiSC helps individuals understand their behavioral style, work preferences, and communication tendencies, allowing them to identify strengths and areas for growth.
  2. Communication: By recognizing the different communication styles of others, individuals can adapt their approach to communicate more effectively and minimize misunderstandings.
  3. Leadership development: DiSC assists leaders in understanding their leadership style and how it influences their team members. It also helps leaders adapt their communication and management approach based on the diverse behavioral styles of their team.
  4. Conflict resolution: By identifying the root causes of communication breakdowns and misunderstandings, DiSC can help individuals address conflicts and improve workplace relationships.
Wondering what your DiSC communication style is? Want to help your team learn about communicating with different DiSC styles? Check out our FREE downloadable DiSC resources!

HBDI (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument):

  1. Self-awareness: HBDI provides insights into an individual's thinking preferences, enabling them to understand their problem-solving and decision-making approaches.
  2. Communication: HBDI helps individuals recognize the diverse thinking styles of others, allowing them to adapt their communication approach to better resonate with their audience.
  3. Leadership development: HBDI equips leaders with the knowledge to understand and leverage the diverse thinking styles of their team members, fostering creativity, innovation, and effective problem-solving.
  4. Decision-making: With an understanding of their thinking preferences, individuals can make more informed decisions by considering multiple perspectives and avoiding potential biases.


Both DiSC and HBDI offer valuable practical applications in personal and professional contexts. While DiSC focuses primarily on behavioral styles and communication, HBDI zeroes in on thinking preferences and problem-solving approaches. Each assessment can be used to enhance self-awareness, improve communication, and facilitate leadership development.

However, while both offer insights into individual behavior and thinking preferences, neither assessment truly hits the mark when it comes to optimizing group dynamics in the workplace.

That’s why we built TeamDynamics. TeamDynamics helps you objectively assess, describe, and act on the unique ways in which your team interacts to accomplish its shared work. Put differently, TeamDynamics describes your team chemistry.

Equipped with your TeamDynamics, you can take action to improve your group dynamics and performance:

  • Build your team by defining team culture and values, setting actionable team norms, and conducting high-impact team offsites;
  • Manage your team better by coaching team members, turbocharging cross-team collaboration, and resolving team conflicts;
  • Recruit and hire more effectively by honing your recruiting pitch, refining your interview process, and accelerating new hire onboarding;

And much more!


As we've explored the fascinating world of DiSC and HBDI, it's clear that both assessments offer unique insights into the complexities of human behavior and thinking preferences. While DiSC excels in helping individuals understand their behavioral styles and improve communication, HBDI shines in unraveling the intricacies of individual thinking preferences and decision-making approaches. And neither StrengthsFinder nor DISC is designed to understand group personality or team chemistry. When you're looking to improve the performance of your team, help your teammates work with other groups, or hire people who will fit in with your team, you should look for another behavioral assessment. Consider TeamDynamics, which is the only personality test built specifically for modern teams.

Ultimately, the choice between DiSC and HBDI depends on your specific goals and desired outcomes. Each assessment serves as a powerful tool for personal and professional development, promoting self-awareness, enhanced communication, and more effective team building and leadership. By embracing these assessments, individuals and organizations can unlock their potential and create more productive, harmonious, and successful work environments.

As you venture forth in your quest for personal growth and professional excellence, consider the unique strengths of both DiSC and HBDI. Embrace the opportunity to deepen your understanding of yourself and those around you, fostering a culture of empathy, understanding, and collaboration. The journey towards self-discovery and workplace harmony awaits!

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