They keep the peace!

The meeting is getting tense. People are talking over each other. And then someone calls a time-out and says, “can we just step back for a minute? I think we have some common ground we’re missing.” Chances are that person will be an S (for Steadiness) on the Everything DiSC Workplace® model. This style may also include a secondary style—e.g., Si (with influence) or SC (with Conscientiousness—but they’ll likely relate to the S communication preferences.

Learning more about what drives your S-style colleagues—and what stressful situations cause them difficulty—will help you work more effectively with them. Let’s dive into the key characteristics:

  • S-style team members find great satisfaction in accommodating others and are happy to give Support whenever and wherever they can. Motivated by being around those who are empathetic and accepting—who genuinely care—they don’t need to win to feel good about themselves. Instead, they are quick to share credit. Because an S style’s self-esteem isn’t necessarily tied to accomplishments, they are often perfectly comfortable working behind-the-scenes.
  • A key priority for S styles who value harmony and consistency is Stability. Both reliable and cautious, they do their best to minimize surprises and create a work environment that is steady and predictable. Preferring to follow the rules, others look to them to create helpful systems and procedures and know they can be counted on to follow through on their commitments.
  • Bringing people together—like their i-style colleagues—is a key priority for S styles. As they focus on Collaboration and being a strong team player, they tend to take the lead in making personal connections and creating a spirit of community that will keep the team working toward a common goal. Warm, friendly, and instinctively trusting, they are always open to new people and ideas. And because they tend to see others’ points of view, people feel understood and accepted.

Watch an S style in action.

Non-judgmental and accepting of others, people with the S style are often seen as peacemakers. They are driven to contribute to a calm, stable environment and do their part to contribute to the group’s success. Highly dependable, you know you can count on them to deliver; they are the ones who are more willing to take one for the team. Compared to those with other styles—e.g., the more fast-paced D- and i-styles—they will take more time to ponder options and no doubt have more patience for long, routine projects that require steadiness and consistency—essential qualities that every organization needs.

Sometimes people with the S style can also be perceived as being resistant to change because they tend to be risk-averse and may focus more on the possibility of failure rather than success. They are extremely uncomfortable dealing with angry or argumentative people. Ambiguity and working with unclear guidelines also can be especially stressful. Often admired for being soft-spoken and patient, your S-style colleague’s need for certainty can sometimes cause indecisiveness that stands in the way of progress. So, when interacting with a Steadiness style, here are a few tips to consider:

  • Don’t come on too strong
  • Earn their trust
  • Don’t ask for big decisions right away
  • Clarify guidelines as much as possible
  • Provide the assurance of safety to receive honest feedback

Responding positively to the priorities of your S-style colleagues—Support, Stability, Collaboration—and flexing your own style preferences to meet somewhere in the middle will go a long way to strengthen your working relationships and improve the effectiveness of your team. And if you happen to be an S style yourself, learn more about what stressors you experience when working with other styles and strategies that can help you flex as well.

Watch an S style in action.


Gwen Voelpel

Gwen Voelpel has 20 years of experience in coaching and mentoring leaders at all levels of organizations. She has an undergraduate degree in communications, a graduate degree in public administration, and has served as an executive leader in several organizations. Gwen is an accredited Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team and Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitator and a Certified Master in Training for The Leadership Challenge.