DiSC - Interaction Between Styles: Steady (S) with Dominant (D)

Posted by Bill Harshman on

Being familiar with the DiSC styles will help you be able to respond better and keep communication moving forward.  Understanding yourself is the first step to becoming more effective when working with others.  However, as I’ve maintained, it is equally important to understanding the “other” style with which you are dealing. 

DiSC Interaction S with D

As an S (Steady) style, you thrive on providing support, maintaining stability, and enjoying collaboration.  To you, others with the D (Dominant) style may appear:

  • Self-confident
  • Competitive
  • Direct
  • Forceful
  • Risk-taking

The D is motivated by power, authority, competition, winning, success, and opportunities to take charge and have authority.  NOTE:  When it comes to PACE and PRIORITY, the S and the D share very little.  The D has a faster, more outgoing, active PACE versus the more moderate, reserved, deliberate PACE of the S.  The D has a task-oriented, questioning, skeptical PRIORITY versus the people-oriented, accepting, and warm PRIORITY of the S.  These two styles exist on opposite quadrants of our PACE-PRIORITY grid referenced in previous blogs.  This might help you visualize (and be open to) the differences between the S and the D and what increased awareness might be helpful for successful interactions.

As an S, suppose you work with a D.  That person seems confident, focused on results, assertive, and ready to tackle anything head-on.  The D is usually well-respected by the organization as a go-getter who delivers on promises, and not likely to be too concerned with including everyone as are you (the S).  However, with your S focus on support, collaboration, and group harmony, you may become frustrated by the D’s risk-orientation, wanting to shake things up, and making bold decisions confidently.

To the S, the D may seem more concerned with getting immediate results and taking action.  While the S is focused on inclusion and group harmony, the D is outspoken and firm, often unaware of how this approach can be stressful for people around them.

Let’s take one more step toward deeper, broader understanding of DiSC® and interactions.  As you see from the Everything DiSC® model above, where you lie within a given DiSC® quadrant provides further, unique descriptors for the 12 styles.  Mind you, these 12 styles are built from the original 4-quadrant model with which you are probably familiar.  So, it’s not like learning a new language.  You are simply adding some new “words” to your existing vocabulary. 

Interaction example:  Our previous DiSC® assessment revealed that our two interacting individuals are S and the D style, respectively.  As we learned in a previous blog, your actual, specific Everything DiSC® style is determined by two aspects; inclination and proximity.  Simply put, inclination is your location near or away from the center of the circular model.  You might think of this as intensity.  The closer to the center, the less intense (slight) and the closer to the outer circle, the higher the intensity (strong).  Proximity is your placement to the neighboring style.  So, in our example, upon closer examination, let’s assume that we actually have a (slight) Si and a (strong) DC, respectively.  We refer to these 2-letter results as “blended styles”.  In our example, let’s assume a “strong” Si and a slight DC.

Si:  We know that the “pure” S is motivated by social recognition, group activities, and friendly relationships.  However, the closer proximity to the i quadrant shows up as highly collaborative and liking to involve others in making decisions, while stressing team spirit over individual accomplishment.  The Si places a high importance on the needs of others, often willing to set aside their own opinions and needs in order to help others.  Note:  The Si farther to the right on the PRIORITY continuum than the DC, however is somewhat midway on the vertical PACE continuum as is the DC.

DC:  We know that the “pure” D style is motivated by power and authority, competition, winning, and success.  However, the closer proximity to the C quadrant shows up as attaining consistent, accurate outcomes and effective solutions.  They may seem overly analytical at times (for a “pure” D style).  Note:  The DC is farther to the left on the PRIORITY continuum (strong) than the iS (slight), however is also somewhat midway on the vertical PACE continuum as the Si.


                                                DiSC Humor:  S with D Road Trip

 The S gets in their car and says, “Hop on in partner!  I hope the A/C is adjusted properly for you.  There are the controls if you would like to change it.  Do you have what you need?  I think I packed what you requested.  But don’t worry, if you think of something else, we can stop and I’ll grab it.  No problem at all.  I just want everything to go smoothly and for us to have a good time”. 

The D gets in the car and thinks quietly, “I wish I was driving.  We’d get there faster”.

As an S, I hope this helps provide more insight into your style AND/OR the “D’s” in your world and provides a broader understanding as to “what makes for successful interaction.”  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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