DiSC® - Stressors & Motivators of the S (Steady) Style

Posted by Bill Harshman on

Our topic today is “Stressors & Motivators of the S (Steady) Style.”  This updated session is one in a series discussing the Stressors & Motivators of the four DiSC® styles, which include:


Before we dive deeper, I have always encouraged learners to maintain a couple important pieces of baseline knowledge. These two pieces are critical to understanding DiSC®.  (This is especially for first-time readers of my blogs)

 First are the Cornerstone Principles that we have discussed before:

  • All DiSC® styles are equally valuable
  • Everyone is a unique blend of all DiSC® styles, and people tend toward one or two styles
  • Your unique style is also influenced by other factors such as life experiences, education, and maturity


Second is the Basic DiSC® Styles Model:

 Basic DiSC Model

A person’s DiSC® style is decided by the intersection of two dimensions of observable behaviors (including body language, tone of voice, expression, and word choice). 

The vertical dimension is known as PACE (or outward activity level) described as either Fast-paced & Outspoken OR Cautious & Reflective.  The horizontal dimension is known as your AGREEABLENESS quotient.  This means those who are “less agreeable” place a lower PRIORITY (concern) for cooperation and social harmony, and we refer to them as “Questioning & Skeptical” on the left end of this dimension.  A general term for them might be result-focused

Those who are “more agreeable” place a higher PRIORITY on cooperation and social harmony and we refer to them as “Accepting & Warm” on the right end of this dimension.  A general term for them might be people-focused.

*It is the interaction between these TWO continua which forms the four quadrants (or basic styles) of the DiSC® model, AND by which you identify a person’s DiSC® style.

Let’s now look at a very brief list of other descriptors to help you more easily and more accurately understand the S (Steady) style.

Steady Descriptors

Here is a reminder from an actual DiSC® Profile report for an S Style of the priorities that shape their workplace:

  • Giving Support. They place a high priority on giving support, and find satisfaction in accommodating others
  • Maintaining Stability. They prioritize maintaining stability, and tend toward reliable and cautious.  Harmony is a core need of the Steady style 
  • Collaboration.  They value collaboration, cooperation, and interaction.  S’s prefer being seen as a team player who provides empathy that makes people feel understood and accepted. 
Remember the S motto?  Let’s Do It Together

    Here is some deeper, researched information that contributes to our body of knowledge around the Steady Style:

    1. The Steady style has a need for harmony. There is a bias to give other people the benefit of the doubt; to put the behavior of others in best light; to interpret others’ intentions in the most favorable way.  The S is less likely to see flaws in the first placer and won’t point them out, and are often quick to see another’s point of view.
    2. The Steady style has a powerful desire to avoid conflict and the things that create conflict. This might show up as avoiding argumentative people (arguing can be exhaustive for the Steady   They would rather be the peacemaker.

    Be mindful that being an S style includes driving assumptions which include:

    • If my world is not in harmony, things are bad.
    • I should never be the source of someone else’s unhappiness or trouble.

    As we consider the behavioral tendencies coupled with these core themes or needs, it will help us better understand the stressors and motivators of the S style.

    Let’s take a look at environmental factors which might conflict with or support the Steady style tendencies and core needs.

    Let me preface this list with the following general description:  As a Steady style, you may have a difficult time with competitive environments or ideas which seem risky.  Ambiguity may also be stressful.  And, as mentioned earlier, because conflict often makes you uncomfortable, you may find it difficult to work with particularly forceful or combative people. 

    Here’s a list of environmental factors which may trigger stress for the S style:

    • Dealing with angry, pushy, or argumentative people*
    • Working under pressure*
    • Making forced decisions
    • Working without clear guidelines*
    • Giving people negative feedback*
    • Being insistent with others
    • Working in a chaotic environment*
    • Making decisions without time for analysis
    • Being wrong or unprepared

    I want to call out a couple points from the previous list.  We spoke of environmental factors that may cause stress.  However, what if others’ behaviors trigger those stressors?

    • For example, can you think of another style who can seem “pushy” or “prefer working under pressure”?” I’m hoping you included a D style in your response.
    • Knowing what you do about the Basic DiSC® Styles Model, you see at least two styles that are more comfortable “working in a chaotic environment” or “working without clear guidelines”. Those are D and i.
    • The C style can feel comfortable “giving people negative feedback”.

    On some level, EACH of the other three styles natural behavior may be a stress trigger that you need to be aware of.  NOT being aware of this is the bigger problem.  Just food for thought whether you are an S, you manage an S, or work alongside an S.

    NOW, let’s take a look at environmental factors which might align with the Steady style tendencies and core needs.  Different people find different aspects of their work motivating.  As a Steady style, you probably enjoy being able to help other people by giving them the support they need in order to do their best work.  You prefer, stable, harmonious environments with people showing compassion and working collaboratively.

    Here’s a list of environmental factors which may provide motivation for the S style:

    • Contributing to a calm, stable atmosphere
    • Working with people who genuinely care about one another
    • Creating helpful systems and procedures
    • Supporting people when they face a challenge
    • Being complimented on a job well done
    • Helping people work together
    • Progressing steadily toward a goal
    • Emphasizing accuracy and precision

    So What?  Here are some general observations from research that might help you extract helpful information from today’s lesson.

    • Where do S leaders thrive? Rallying other people to achieve progress through collaboration.
    • Where do S leaders struggle? In an environment which requires result-based delegation or implementing power.

    Here is a little more So What?  And, this is helpful whether YOU are an S, your peer is an S, your manager is an S, or a coworker is an S.  The “So What?” is to become consciously aware of them so that you can make decisions and choices in a more deliberate, intentional, and responsible fashion.

    Now, go be that patient, accommodating, “Let’s Do It Together” Steady Style.  The world needs more present, aware, and responsible S’s.

    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.

    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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