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The Avengers: What Style are They?

(posted: May 21st, 2019)

My daughter recently saw the movie "Avengers: Endgame". I've seen some of the Avengers movies and know the cast of characters, but I haven't seen "Endgame," so in trying not to give away any of the movie's plot we found ourselves talking about the heroes personalities.

We thought it would be fun to do a little "people reading" on the main members and see if we could divine their DiSC styles. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and I think we did a pretty good job nailing it.

Of course, it's not as though we can ask these fictional characters to take a DiSC assessment, but this was a fun way to test our knowledge of the various characteristics that make up the DiSC types.

Note that there are NO spoilers for "Avengers: Endgame" here!

What are the Avengers' DiSC Types?

I think it's fair to say that all of the Avengers have moments when they could be considered "D"-like, because they are super heroes and their job is to aggressively defend the Earth from intruders--They are driven, want to take action, and they take risks. But when you look a little deeper they really do all have their own unique approach to this aggressive job, based in their specific DiSC styles. See what you think about our unofficial assessment!

Captain America: S
Captain America is loyal, patient, humble, and protective of his team, his country, his world, and ultimately the universe. In "Captain America: The First Avenger" Dr. Erskine asks Steve Rogers, before giving him the super serum, "Do you want to kill Nazis?" It's a test of sorts--is Steve just another aggressive personality? Or is he something more, as the Doctor has suspected? Steve responds, "I don't want to kill anyone. But I don't like bullies. I don't care where they're from." Captain America is focused on looking for opportunities to help and support people, and on working with his team. He, more than the rest, is driven by a need to do the right thing with patience and humilty, and to protect the stability of his world.

Iron Man: iD
Tony Stark is an energetic, social, self-centered billionaire playboy who loves the limelight. He is also a brilliant engineer and focused problem-solver. He is inspiring, charismatic, and persuasive, arrogant, though not always confident, and tends to think that he knows better than anyone else. He is the only super hero to just flat out allow his secret identity and his super hero identity to be connected: "I AM Iron Man," he says at the end of the first Iron Man movie. In the first Avengers movie, when Tony, Steve, and Natasha are flying with Loki in the Quinjet, Thor appears and takes Loki. Steve says to Tony, "Where are you going? We need a plan of attack." Tony's response? "I have a plan: Attack!" Tony is impulsive and acts before he thinks, or acts on his own assessment of the situation, without discussing it with his teammates. It takes major events to nudge him out of his self-focus, but when push comes to shove he is able to act for the common good.

Black Widow: C
Natasha Romanov, or Black Widow, was trained as a spy in Russia. She is reserved, analytical, and precise. She rarely shows her genuine emotions, using emotion as a tool to get what she needs from her targets. "Regimes fall every day. I tend not to weep over that, I'm Russian, or I was." She is not an enhanced human, like most of the other Avengers, but instead she has been rigorously trained. She assesses a situation and strikes with pinpoint accuracy, often using the enemy's weapon against him or her. She is outwardly skeptical, sarcastic, and suspicious. She often plays devil's advocate on the team, pointing out possible roadblocks and issues. However, once she trusts her team, she is loyal and dedicated to the end, and will follow the plan the group decides on. For her, the Avengers is the family she never had. She has a special bond with Clint Barton (Hawkeye) which is never entirely explained. In the first Avengers movie, Loki says to Natasha about Barton, "Is that love, Agent Romanoff?" Natasha's reply? "Love is for children; I owe that man a debt."

Hawkeye: C
Like Black Widow, Hawkeye (Clint Barton) is focused, analytical, and loyal. Once you have his trust he will have your back forever. He does not express his emotions much, and takes a mile-high, strategic view. He prefers to observe, whether from a distance with his hawk-like eyesight, or when present in the same room as the rest of the team. He may be the funniest Avenger, with a dry, acerbic wit that shows up mainly in high-pressure situations: "I've done the whole mind-control thing. Not a fan." He is capable of inspiring action, but differently from Captain America. Hawkeye inspires and persuades one-to-one with facts and a call to duty. In "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Hawkeye convinces the Scarlet Witch to snap out of it and do her "job": "It's your fault, it's everyone's fault, who cares. Are you up for this? Look, I just need to know, 'cause the city is flying. Okay, look, the city is flying, we're fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense. But I'm going back out there because it's my job. Okay? It doesn't matter what you did, or what you were. If you go out there, you fight, and you fight to kill...if you step out that door, you are an Avenger."

Thor: D
Thor, a god from the planet Asgard, is pretty much the epitome of a D type personality. He is bold and aggressive, is energized by competition and especially by the thought of winning in battle. He is forceful and confident, impatient, and not especially aware of those around him. He doesn't wait for permission, or consensus, or teamwork. He acts. In "Thor: Ragnarok" he says to Valkyrie, when trying to persuade her to help him save Asgard, "I choose to run towards my problems, and not away from them. Because...because that what heroes do." He is more vulnerable than he thinks, though. In "Avengers: Age of Ultron" the Scarlet Witch puts dark visions in the minds of all the Avengers: "The girl tried to warp my mind. Take special care. I doubt a human could keep her at bay. Fortunately, I am mighty." Thor does not keep her curse at bay, though he is able to recognize it for the dream that it is, and search for answers to the questions it raises. And in "Thor: Ragnarok" his half-sister, Hela, destroys his hammer and undermines his confidence, causing him to nearly give up the fight. He does regain his faith in his power, but even so, he has to come up with a strategy involving other people in order to finally beat Hela and save the Asgardian people. He has to combine his power and drive with the contributions of others to win.

Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner: D/C
The Hulk is even more simply and clearly a D personality. There are really no nuances to Hulk's character--he is always angry, and he smashes everything. If Dr. Banner feels threatened or like he's being taken advantage of, the Hulk appears. Hulk is childlike in his single-mindedness, and does not think about his course of action or consider the effect on others. He just smashes. Dr. Banner, on the other hand, is a fact-driven scientist. He is mortified by the Hulk's impetuous and destructive behavior, and tries multiple times to get as far away from things that might trigger the Hulk's appearance as he can. Natasha Romanov says of Banner, "All my friends are fighters, and here comes a guy avoiding a fight 'cause he knows he'll win." Of his vulnerability, Banner says to Tony in the first Avengers movie, "Ah, see. I don't get a suit of armor. I'm exposed, like a nerve. It's a nightmare."

Here are a few other popular Avengers and the styles we think they have:

  • Black Panther: C
  • Dr. Strange: C
  • Spiderman: Si

How Do They Work as a Team?

So, with this group of personalities, how do they end up working together as a team? We see in the movies that they tend to have a lot of trouble coming together as a team, identifying that one unifying goal, and putting aside their superficial differences to do the work. Even when they know the goal, e.g., saving the world, several of them often go off on their own and don't consult the team (Thor, Iron Man, I'm looking at you!).

In a future post we'll take a look at how the Avengers have learned to trust each other and the team, as they all have historically tended to be a bit prickly and slow to open up.

Challenge Yourself
  • How might the Avengers benefit from knowing their own and each other's styles?
  • It seems like Captain America and Black Widow fit most easily into a team situation. Why is that?
  • It seems like Tony and Thor have the most trouble fitting their outsized personalities into a team situation. How do you think they could best use the DiSC styles to improve their teamowork?

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