Increase Self-awareness for effective engagement: Part 4 – Strong Advice

Increase Self-awareness for effective engagement: Part 4

Understanding how behavioral preferences and priorities influence personal and workplace effectiveness of the ‘S’ -Steadiness Style

By Mike Strong, Director/Founder.

In the previous articles, the DiSC styles of “D” (dominant) and “I” (Influence) were highlighted. If you are not a “D” or “I”, we proposed ways to effectively engage with such people. Now we turn to another DiSC style known as “S” for being Steady”. Maybe you will find that your style is closely related to an “S”. Great! We need someone like you on the team! If you are another personality, then we will provide you some tips on how to effectively engage with an “S” style.

Foundational Principles of Applying Personality Profiles

Before we dig deeper let’s  review some foundational principles we discussed in previous articles. They apply to all the profiles and personality types discussed.

  • Every person is a mixture of all the four different styles, they usually have strong preferences for 1-2 of the ways they relate to others.
  • There are no innately good or bad styles. Each has its positive side and limitations.
  • There is no one style that is superior to others. Some styles may be more suitable for certain situations or work conditions.
  • An individual’s experiences, education, professional training, maturity, culture and self-awareness affect the way they express their styles.

Given these principles, let’s focus on the ‘S’ behavioural style. Such personalities assume that they are less powerful than the environment yet perceive the environment as favourable in most situations they find themselves. By “environment” we mean their workplace experience, with all the organizational structure and personality relationships surrounding them.

The key to understanding the ‘S’ style personality is  being aware of their basic assumptions. They generally approach their environment favourably but believe it could easily slip out of their control and become unfavourable. They assume that the environment could easily stop serving their purposes and agenda. This leads them to seek its steadiness and stability over change and risk. As a result, you would observe them hard at work to collaborate with people in their environment to maintain and keep things the same.

In their mind, the environment doesn’t need to change at all. They tend to see all the good things in their current situation and work to convince others. They are least likely to embrace any form of change. Rather, they learn all the beautiful aspects of existing systems and processes in the environment and make incremental improvements to ensure that everything is running as smoothly as it possibly could.

Their strategy is to collaborate, help, and support people to get their work/task done so that no one has any reason to “rock the boat”. Their way of shaping the environment is through cooperation with others to maintain the status quo. For them, systems and structure and processes should be put in place. Optimize? Yes! Radical Transformation? NO!

These assumptions cause the ‘S’ to be a bit slower paced than their “D” and “I” counterparts. They tend to be more in the background than upfront. They are usually interested in making sure that the “more powerful” people are offered all the help, resource and support they need to flourish. Their quiet and agreeable personalities cause them to be super likeable. Their consistency brings value to the team because they are reliable and dependable. They usually typically believe their best contribution is to create a peaceful and functional space where everyone is comfortable and supported! They invest their time and efforts to ensure people are provided all the material, systems, structures and support they need to thrive.

Characteristics of the ‘S’ – Steadiness Style

The most prominent characteristics of the ‘S’ style is their calm, patient, empathizing, agreeable, and receptive nature. That approach to life has a powerful impact on the people around them. We can describe them as “the glue” that binds relationships together. Because of their carefulness and willingness to listen carefully and empathize deeply, people tend to feel safe around them. Their accepting tendency creates an atmosphere of hope and comfort which just solidifies relationships.

You will notice that they generally talk in a calm and careful manner and are thoughtful and patient in word and deed. Anyone that has the ‘S’ style of behaviour rarely seeks a stellar social reputation. Instead they prefer to make impact from the background. Because of their good listening skills and ability to empathize. Team members generally seek them out for their encouragement and support when problems arise.

The ‘S’s demonstrate a healthy level of appreciation for the big picture. They can balance the grand narrative with  the “nitty-gritty” of everyday life. Their personality causes them to be some of the most sought-after support team members anyone could ever ask for. They are not always fastest may not be very fast at rallying people around a vision – but gradually over time, their track record of loyalty usually breeds an incredible amount of loyalty and good-will.

By comparison, while If the ‘I’ Style influences on the grand scale, the ‘S’ style believes in taking one person at time. Another unique characteristic from “I” , the ‘S’ style is their ability to become specialists in a given discipline. While often slow to offer praise, it is received well because they do so after careful and patient observation.

While thriving on stability and being amiable, they tend to avoid conflict and find it difficult  assert their differing opinions. They could also miss out on great innovative trends and hence hinder healthy change when they place high priority to maintain everything as they are. The “S” style is generally quiet and  shy, so you will need to ask them directly what they think and how they feel. As a team leader or member, you may need to watch out for them, to ensure that this type of personality doesn’t become overburdened, due to their willingness to say “yes” to every person.

The tendencies and environmental preferences of the ‘S’ Style

If any of the above characteristics or the behavioural tendencies below are observable in an individual, such a person is most likely an ‘S’ style. An ‘S’ style personality is observed when they:

  • Constantly demonstrate patience and thoughtfulness
  • Seem to thrive at developing specialized skills
  • Show loyalty by extending helping hands.
  • Prove to be good listeners.
  • Work to maintain the status quo
  • Performs predictable and routines tasks well
  • Offers sincere and detailed credit and appreciation for work accomplished
  • Identifies with a group or work team and advocates for minimal or no to zero conflict.

The above observations are associated with a high level ‘S’ personality. Not all ‘S’ personalities perform at the highest level, as there are varying degrees of strengths practiced by individuals. One who has medium strength will exhibit these characteristics to a lesser degree and may rely on other personality characteristics from another ‘DiSC’ profile.

Strengths and Limitations of the ‘S’ Style

Like everyone else, the ‘S’s like to succeed, so when they find something they do well (like helping, supporting, listening, empathizing, being loyal, patient, agreeable, receptive, etc), they often find as many opportunities as possible to use those attributes. They soon come to discover the strengths that are associated with their style, how these assets help them succeed, and they use them more frequently.

As a case example, let me introduce “Stephen” (or Stephanie) who is an ‘S’ that loves helping, being calm and patient, maintaining status quo and creating stability. His good listening, calm, empathetic, careful and methodical nature makes it easy for him to create stability and build long term loyalty. People are attracted to him and they feel so safe around him. His support makes them succeed and makes him feel important. So, Stephen becomes aware that he can leverage the strength of his personality to achieve good results and advance his career .

However, Stephen sometimes notices that relying too much on this personality trait can hinder his progress over time (The overuse of one’s strength can become a limitation). For instance, Stephen’s agreeability and desire to avoid any conflict may cause him to compromise his opinions to the extent  that his needs are now neglected. When resistant to or slow to agree with change, his indecisiveness could frustrate  his faster paced colleagues and result in conflict.  Because Stephen tends to be so focused on maintaining things the way they are, he may also run the risk of being bureaucratic. Stephen will need to learn to adjust his ways of working and engaging with others if he wants to be more effective and consistently successful.

Managing a person like Stephen – the ‘S’ Style

Quite possibly you may know a person like Stephen who is an important person in your work or home life. To manage that relationship, we have some “Strong Advice” to help you succeed with Stephen: Remember that relationships are important to someone like Stephen so, provide a friendly and sincere environment.

  • Remember that relationships are important to someone like Stephen so, provide a friendly and sincere environment.
  • When you ask them questions, ask “How” questions to get their feedback and to give clarification.
  • Because they are generally detail oriented, provide a step-by-step approach to a task.
  • To relate better with them, you may need to move patiently and slowly draw out their ideas.
  • Avoid threats when discussing changes in the organization or about their performance.
  • When implementing change, provide them with enough time for adjusting to the proposed changes.
  • Give them personal assurance of follow-up service and then do it!
  • To inspire them, focus on how their actions reduces risks and create stability.

Did you recognize yourself in the ‘S’ style? If not, the next article will define the “C” style. Or you can review the previous articles on the ‘D’ style and the ‘I’ style. The purpose of these articles is to help you learn about others and how best to relate to them in the workplace.

To learn more, we invite you to obtain your personalized DiSC profile report and schedule a session of personal coaching with us. We will help you learn how to apply these valuable insights about yourself. There is also the option of registering for an upcoming workshop on our website www.strongadvice.ae where you can learn from other participants too. These “Strong Advice” sessions will assist you in unlocking the power of self-awareness and give you the keys to more effectively engage with others!

Leave a comment below and A Strong Advice staff member will respond promptly. We welcome your thoughts!


Mike Strong is the thought champion behind STRONG ADVICE. He servces as the Director of Leadership Development and has spent 30 years in the Middle East and currently… Read More

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