DiSC® - Understanding the S (Steady) Style

Posted by Bill Harshman on

In today’s DiSC® lesson, we will discuss a deeper and broader understanding of the S or (Steady / Steadiness) style.  This will be helpful whether it is YOU who are an S style, or if it is someone else with whom you are dealing that is an S style.  Furthermore, AS an S, this will help you interact with another S.

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’ve 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:


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 4 quadrants (or basic styles) of the DiSC® model, AND by which you identify a person’s DiSC® style.

I want to start with a definition of Steadiness that we are likely familiar with to help calibrate the reader and provide a common baseline of understanding as we proceed.  Oxford defines Steadiness as follows:  (of a person) behavior that is reasonable and shows good judgment, so that people trust you.

I’d say that’s a pretty good starting point from our daily lives.  And for other words that may appeal to you, we go to the thesaurus:

  • cohesion
  • constancy
  • dependability
  • firmness
  • perseverance
  • steadfastness
  • toughness
  • adherence

DiSC® will provide much more interpretation and meaning to this style label we call Steady / Steadiness.

With our focus on the S style, let’s break down this PACE and AGREEABLENESS interaction a bit more.


We’ll start with PACE.  We see that S & C share a cautious & reflective PACE.  Using the S as our example Style today, we see that S & C share some of the same “language” by nature of their similar PACE.  In other words, if they have a similar PACE, they are more likely to be able to understand one another sooner and easier . . . than if they had a dissimilar PACE.  Putting that another way, they each know a little bit about the language of the other with whom they are interacting.  Now, let’s take a look at AGREEABLENESS. 

We see that S & i share Accepting & Warm AGREEABLENESS.  In other words, they each know a little bit about the language of the other.  You can see how I can make the same inference about “language” that I made at the PACE grid by looking at similarity in AGREEABLENESS and their “people-focused” approach.

You might wonder “What about the diagonal pairings (meaning the S / D  relationship or the C / i relationship)?”  That’s a good question.  This is where we begin to see interaction between dissimilar styles that share NEITHER PACE nor AGREEABLENESS.  In contrast to the above examples, neither Style here knows much about the language of the other.  Let’s take a look.

Again, with our focus on the S style, we know that an S comes from a cautious & reflective PACE combined with an Accepting & Warm AGREEABLENESS.  When the S needs to interact with a D, the first thing the S considers is that the D has a faster & outspoken PACE combined with a Questioning & Skeptical AGREEABLENESS.  This knowledge is all the S needs to encourage successful interaction.  Granted, it will take a little more planning and effort entering the conversation with the others’ D style in mind.

I call this extra “effort” the STRETCH.  One style may have to STRETCH (or FLEX) a little to “speak the language” of another style, always considering the others’ needs, preferences, and priorities.

I want to use the analogy here of learning a new task at work.  At first, it’s not easy or comfortable.  However, over time and practice, coupled with an understanding of what is required to complete the task successfully, you will need to STRETCH less and less to get improved results.

Let’s look at an overview of the S style.  We already know the two continua which indicate an S style.  Now, let’s see more descriptors which will help us understand better.


PACE: Cautious & Reflective

AGREEABLENESSAccepting / Warm (people-focused)

  • Priorities include: Giving support, maintaining stability, enjoying collaboration.  Motto?  “Let’s Do It Together”
  • Motivated by: Stable environments, sincere appreciation, cooperation, opportunities to help
  • Fears: Loss of stability, change, loss of harmony, offending others
  • Other descriptors: Even-tempered, accommodating, patient, humble, tactful
  • Limitations: Overly accommodating, tendency to avoid change, indecisiveness


Here is an excerpt from an actual DiSC® Profile report.

You place a high value on providing Support.  You tend to be a good listener, and as a result are seen as patient and accommodating.  You are likely to do what it takes to maintain a friendly, harmonious environment. 

You also prioritize Stability, and often focus on maintaining a predictable, orderly environment.  Your cautious nature supports your methodical pace and avoids rapid change.

You prioritize Collaboration and value a trusting, warm environment where you want others to feel included and accepted with a focus on friendly teamwork.

Diving further into understanding a style, we need to look beyond simply observable behavior.  Wiley research identifies that each style also has core needs.  The core need (driving assumption) of an S is simply: 

  • Harmony; a strong need to know that things are running smoothly and evenly, minimal tension, avoid conflict and avoid resistance, and no looming dangers on the horizon in both their relationships and their tasks


Your strengths as an S co-worker MAY include:

  • Being a good listener
  • Excellent teacher or coach
  • Placing a high value on providing support
  • Patient and accommodating
  • Maintaining a predictable, orderly environment
  • Working at a steady, methodical pace
  • Making sure people feel included and accepted

Your limitations as an S co-worker MAY include:

  • Modesty which can appear as submission
  • Emphasizing others over themselves
  • Letting your people orientation interfere with quick decisions
  • May become indecisive under pressure or sudden change

As an S you can improve effectiveness by:

  • Displaying self-confidence
  • Embracing change, especially rapid change
  • Exhibiting true feelings and not letting your opinions be passed by


There’s much more to discover by taking the DiSC® Profile.  In future lessons, we’ll learn about:

  • Motivators & Stressors
  • How to connect with all 4 styles
  • Solving Problems with all 4 styles
  • Dealing with tension between all 4 styles
  • Three key strategies to deal with ALL types

I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of DiSC® and specifically 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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