Having a deeper understanding of people’s behavioral styles can provide significant insight into how to better communicate with them. Using a proven science such as DISC can help uncover observable clues about a person’s predominant factor influencing their style of behavior.
DISC is an acronym that stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. The science of DISC explains the “how” a person does what they do, and can be a strong predictor of future behavior.
DISC addresses areas of behavioral focus such as problems, people, pace and processes. While most people have one factor of DISC more pronounced than the others, some people may have two or three impactful factors. A person’s individual DISC profile is unique combination of all four factors of DISC.
In this four-part blog series, we will take a deep dive into unique characteristics that make up each of the four unique factors of DISC. Today’s focus is on the S (Steadiness), specifically those having a high-S factor as their primary style.
Steadiness: All About Pace
Those with high-S (Steadiness) as their leading DISC factor tend to be people-oriented and indirect communicators like the Influencers. They prefer a relaxed pace because they feel most comfortable with consistency and stable environments. Their mantra may be “slow and steady wins the race.” A steady pace without frequent or sudden change suits them just fine. They will likely avoid confrontation whenever possible.
The high-S isn’t necessarily opposed to change, they just prefer to have time to process and accept it. They like predictability and prefer being involved in decisions and projects. The high-S tends to be very loyal, preferring to have a small group of close friends compared to a large group of acquaintances.
How to Spot a High-S
Identify a high-S by observing them sitting back in their chair while having a conversation. They may or may not have a hand in a pocket, but usually it won’t be both hands. The high-S seeks stability and consistency in their world. The S often will react similarly to the person they are conversing with, making it a little harder to definitely identify their style.
While nowhere near as talkative or extroverted as the high-I, high-S’s do enjoy being around people, especially their close-knit circle of friends. They walk with a steady, easy pace, never in too much of a hurry to get where they are going. This person may have the ultimate “poker face” as they tend to hide their emotions with the skill of the most seasoned professional. When overextended, the high-S can become possessive, and they are not big fans of quick change. They like their systems to remain the same, and are hesitant of change at first, even if it will be advantageous in the long-term.
Since behavior is observable, you notice if someone is task-oriented (D & C) or people-oriented (I & S). While both high-S and high-I’s are people-oriented, another set of clues to look for is how conversational (I) they try to be. The I will be much more extroverted than the S. These behavioral clues become obvious once you know to identify them. By going through this process of observation, you can identify a behavior style with very little effort, giving you a unique advantage toward good communication.
Interaction Between Styles
Behavioral Style Match (BSM) is a measure how well people of various styles will communicate with each other. Some styles naturally attract while others have a tendency to repel, and in the situation of those that repel, adaptation becomes key to having good communication.
Without a doubt, S’s will communicate best with other S’s because they understand and relate to one another. S’s also communicate well with C’s especially because they are usually on the same page when it comes to pace. An S and I should communicate relatively well since they both value people, as long as the I can control the pace of their conversation.
An S and D have the ability for good communication as long as the D is willing to be a little less direct and a little more people-oriented, and the S is willing to pick up the pace and focus a little more on the task at hand.
How to Communicate Successfully with a High-S
A high-D needs to keep pace in mind and not come across like a bull in a china shop when communicating with an S. The D will also need to provide plenty of details for the S and confirm they fully understand what is expected of them.
While both styles may ultimately be people-oriented, a high-I will benefit by toning down their approach and excessive hand gestures with an S. While the I wants to be friends with everyone, the S is a little more choosy when allowing someone into their inner circle. Restraint would be a great rule of thumb for the I when communicating with an S.
Regardless of style, listening to the high-S will go a long way. They will say what’s on their mind but they prefer to get there at their own pace. Be patient. Break the ice during communication rather than getting right to business. Make the interaction conversational and show that you are interested in them as people.
Also important is asking a lot of “how” questions to gain information from the high-S. Be casual and informal in your conversation and avoid abrupt topic changes. While the high-S will very likely go along with what you want them to do, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are on board or that they’d rather do it your way. The high-S prefers to take time to process information because it’s in their nature to think things through and consider multiple outcomes.
Words That Work and Don’t Work for the High-S
When it comes to words alone, certain words may resonate with people of certain behavioral styles while the exact same words can be a turn off to others. It all starts with identifying as much as you can about a person so you can communicate effectively with them.
Once you have a good handle on what behavioral style a person is, you can use words that will draw them into the conversation and avoid words that will push them away. Words/phrases that engage the high-S include: adaptable, steady and team player. Words/phrases that disengage the high-S include: substantial change, unexpected and urgent.
While the high-S’s easy going nature may make them likable, they may not truly reveal how they feel about another person or a particular situation. While this may suit them well at the poker table, it may more difficult in a relationship with a high-S, either personally or in the workplace.
When a high-S affirmatively shakes their head during a conversation, it doesn’t necessarily mean they agree with you; it may just mean they have heard you. The high-S is agreeable to many things, but definitely has his or her own opinions about things, and wants those opinions to be known, but only at his or her pace. The high-S typically does not embrace spontaneity, rather preferring to have time to effectively process information and make a more informed decision.