We have all experienced the pain of ineffective conversations – that sinking feeling that if only we had chosen different words or a different behavior in communicating our message. In part one and two of this four part series, we explored the extrovert styles of the DISC – the D’s (the Bull) and the I’s (the Tiger).
The high “S” is the observable behavior of a Stable/Steady, the other of the two people-focused styles. While the high “I” is a fast moving, enthusiastic, magnetic and energetic behavior style, the person who is in the high “S” scale is a slower moving, patient, predictable, and relaxed behavior style. The “S” scale governs how an individual responds to the pace of their environment. Opting for more stability and more team harmony, the high “S” is often resistant to change when it is not proven to be beneficial to the team working together. The high “S” is vital to team health and engagement since his or her focus is on others and taking the time to get everyone on board. Because of their tendency to mask their true feelings, high S’s can be hard to read. Assuming that they are in agreement with you because they don’t immediately voice their concerns or objections can be a fatal communication error. Take the case of Olivia who is executive assistant to the President. She is loyal and vital to her boss Chris’s project execution. Chris has given Olivia a new sales plan for the remote team and asks how she likes it. Olivia thinks the plan may have a negative impact on the work flow of the sales team, but she is hesitant to cause a potential conflict with her boss by speaking her mind. She remains silent. With her high S assistant, Chris will have to be very observant of Olivia’s nonverbal cues and ask her directly how she thinks this plan would affect the remote team and give her time to reflect on the impact. The higher the trust level between the two, the more likely Olivia will be willing to take the risk of speaking up. Chris will have to exercise patience, and a willingness to ask more “how“ questions to draw out Olivia’s opinions. Both the working relationship between these two and the sales team will benefit from an understanding of behavioral needs.
Taking a closer look at our high “S” colleagues reveals that high S’s fear not being respected because their work may be quietly behind the scenes and go unnoticed and as we learned, they may mask their emotions.
How to quickly recognize the high “S”
- Balk at domineering or demanding tones
- Like to have time to reflect on what is being said or asked
- Prefer stability over sudden change unless the change has a track record of success
- Are introverted
- Tend to ask rather than tell
- Internalize their emotions
- Will follow time tested rules
- Will tolerate conflict to achieve harmony
How to quickly recognize the low “S” (or the opposite end of the scale)
Low S’s are people whose behavior style in responding to the pace of their environment looks more like this:
- Will tell rather than ask
- Like dynamic, changing environments
- Prefer flexibility
- Value freedom of expression
- Wear their hearts on their sleeve “emotionally”
- More extroverted
Every team benefits from a range of behavioral styles. Of course, the role of a leader and team player is to adapt to the behavior of the person who you are interacting with. The more we feel like we are looking in the proverbial mirror, the more receptive we are to the messages sent our way. To those who say, “Who has time for this?”, keep in mind that it takes more time to clear up misunderstandings and rebuild relationships than it takes to be effective in our communications in the first place. If you have followed this series, you have enough knowledge to begin to practice three of the four behavior styles. Since most of us are a blend of high or low on all four scales, getting your own DISC assessment will take you to the next level of effectiveness as a communicator and as a leader.
So here are the secrets of communication with a high “S”:
- Begin your communication with a personal comment or question to break the ice
- Present your case softly and non-threateningly
- Ask “how” questions to draw out their opinions
- Pay attention to what they aren’t saying – their nonverbal communication
- Don’t assume buy-in just because they haven’t objected
- Don’t force them to respond quickly
Learn more about your own style and how to adapt with ease to the other styles. Take advantage of our irresistible end of summer special offer today. Special pricing ends shortly.