DiSC® - Diving Deeper into the S (Steady) Style

Posted by Bill Harshman on


This lesson is third in a series taking a deeper dive into the research behind the characteristics, thought processes, core needs, and assumptions associated with each of the DiSC® styles.  Today’s focus is on the S (Steady) style.  As with any assessment, there are always a small percentage of outliers from the existing research.  However, the reliability and validity of the DiSC® has stood the test of time.

What does the reader need to know?

This lesson will be helpful if you don’t know your style OR if you are a style other than SteadyHere is a reminder:  One of the Cornerstone Principles of DiSC® is that “Everyone is a unique blend of all DiSC® styles, and people typically tend toward one style.”  I’ll suggest at this point that you read/listen for those insights that will help you make sense of your own, unique experience.

Quick Summary of the Steady style

Here is another reminder about the Steady style to provide context.  The S has a PACE of Cautious & Reflective, combined with an AGREEABLENESS quotient of Accepting & Warm (people-focused).  And, their brief list of (observable behaviors) descriptors include:  Even-tempered, Accommodating, Patient, Humble, & Tactful.  (For more specifics on the S style, refer to the blog titled, “DiSC®  – Understanding the Steady (S) Style”) at our website, www.TrainingLocation.com.  We also know that the S style priorities include providing support, maintaining stability, and collaboration.  As we proceed in this lesson, you’ll notice one or more of these priorities identified in our Steady candidate.  Refer to our blog titled, “EVERYTHING DiSC WORKPLACE® PROFILE - The 8 Prioritiesto understand the priorities associated with the DiSC® styles, specifically the Steady.

The thrust of this article is around the core needs that tie those aforementioned descriptors together.  For example, why is it that people with an S style lean (more than the average person) toward being good listeners, stable, accepting, empathizing, etc.?  And, is there underlying motivation to these observable behaviors?  To help understand that, we need to look at the core needs.

Core Need of the Steady Style:

  1. This is simple. The S style has a single, overarching, all-encompassing need for harmony.  There is a strong need to know that things are stable and running smoothly, with minimal tension, and there are no looming dangers on the horizon.  The S style wants to know there is harmony in both their relationships and their tasks.  This looks like patiently giving others the benefit of the doubt; to think the best of others; to assume others’ intentions in the most favorable, supportive way.
    • The S style has a “sub-need” (opposite of harmony) which is to avoid conflict. They seek to actively avoid conflict; to avoid the things that cause conflict; and to avoid the things that cause the things that cause conflict. Enough said! 

This core need of harmony shows up in how a person approaches their life (work, family, friends, recreation, etc.) and there are positives and negatives to this need.  This need appears as behaviors, including a strong behavior of being agreeable.  People with the S style find themselves drawn to maintaining relationships in a steady fashion.  They will smooth things over to a point, then – if things get heated – they can shut down and wait out the tension.  This can create a mix of ruminating combined with denial.  This is exhausting for the S style.

Also, some have teased the S style about being the peacemaker, and pretending everyone and everything is fine.  Well, peacemakers are welcome in our world, however just know that the S style you’re teasing can be tempted to either withdraw or cave in just so others can have peace again, often at their own expense.

Driving Assumptions of the Steady Style

A very important part of who we have become are driving assumptions.  These are unconscious.  These driving assumptions which are created at a young age now drive our behavior and guide our interpretation and understanding of the world around us.  Here are the top four assumptions of the S style:

  • If my world is not in harmony, things are bad. I’ll put all my waking energy into seeking harmony.
  • I should never be the source of some else’s unhappiness. I should never burden other people; Nobody should ever think I’m selfish; if someone is displeased with me, I’ve done something wrong.
  • (This one is around modesty) I’m only half pretending that I know what I’m doing; my opinions are only half baked; other people’s opinions must be more informed than mine. I’m more aware of mistakes than the average person.
  • I show my value by helping people. I’m valuable because I make other people happy.

There is a significant amount of research and implications to these driving assumptions.  However, in the interest of time, just keeping these in the back of your mind will remind you of the simple humanness of people, whatever their style.  Our growth as people is to simply monitor our behavior and our thoughts, and become aware as to when these assumptions are being played out in the background. 

Implications around leadership

How do I interpret and make meaning from this for either me or the Ss in my life?  That presents myriad items on a long list, however let’s look at one small aspect - leadership.  Leaders with the S style were rated particularly high in areas like staying open to input, showing diplomacy, and facilitating dialogue.  They are respectful of authority.  And, they blend modesty with attention to other people’s needs.

Conversely, they can be slow to manage up for their teams for resources or fairness.  The S style leader may have trouble pushing for change or pushing back against the status quo.  Remember:  Resistance is on the other end of the spectrum from harmony. 

The “So what?” is to understand that the core needs and driving assumptions of the S style work both independently and together all the time in everything you do.  Some aspects have more influence on observable behavior than others at any given moment.  Being aware and thinking critically of the interrelatedness of the core needs and driving assumptions will serve you well.

I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of DiSC®, especially the Steady style.  Whether your needs include Onboarding, Employee Engagement, Culture Change, Conflict Management, Team Building, or simply Communication, DiSC® is the research-based, proven, leading training solution. We have several Everything DiSC® assessments to help you craft individual and team solutions, including (click for description):

·         WORKPLACE®

·         AGILE EQ™


·         WORK OF LEADERS®

·         MANAGEMENT

·         SALES

As ALWAYS, the key to effectiveness through DiSC® is understanding your and others’ styles and then using that knowledge for improved interactions.

If you would like a live, complimentary webinar (online) for your team or organization, please send an email to info@traininglocation.com.  If you’d like to purchase the DiSC®, visit  DiSC® Classic or Everything DiSC® at our website.  And, check out our products from The Ken Blanchard Companies as well.

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