Dealing with

Dealing with Difficult Bosses: The Steady Boss

In times of rapid change, uncertainty, unpredictability, and insecurity, people respond very differently. Those who embrace and adapt well to a changing environment will generally appear unaffected and continue about their lives accepting the new normal as encountered. However, there always exists the other side of the behavioral spectrum that does not inherently appreciate change, and struggles through adapting to new processes and procedures. Those who can adapt to change more quickly often characterize others who are slower to embrace change as “difficult.” Many times, these “difficult” people are, or become, our boss.

Our strategy today is to learn about the Steady personality style or “S” style boss.

Who is the “S” Style?

“S” styles represent the vast majority of 69% of the population, so there is a higher likelihood you will inevitably find yourself working for an “S” style boss. They are more emotionally reserved in their approach to interacting with people, but are still very much people-oriented like the “I” style. They are great listeners, diplomatic in their communication, and passively observational. Again, much like the “I,” they prefer to participate in team projects and are excellent at developing and maintaining harmony amongst colleagues.

Why are they viewed as “difficult?”

“S” style bosses tend to get a bad report when they encounter fast-paced, challenging situations that require quick decisions, or when they are faced with conflict in the workplace. They may be slower and more systematic in their approach to executing a plan, and doing so only after conferring with as many people as possible to gain buy-in and confidence they’re making the best choice. They desire consensus. “D” personalities may view them as indecisive or lacking confidence; “I” styles may see them as bored or disengaged from the team, and “C” personalities may perceive them as a roadblock to progress. Keep in mind, the dominant fears of all DISC styles can influence their opinions and interactions with others.

“S” style bosses desire conflict-free environments that are collaborative and friendly. This setting is motivating for the “S” style leader and keeps them feeling accepted and valued, while focusing on important leadership strengths such as advocating, decision-making, brainstorming, and communicating. Frustration sets in when task-oriented styles working with the “S,” such as “D” or “C” styles, begin to pressure the “S” to speed up their pace, make decisions on the fly or confront contentious issues before they feel prepared to do so on their own.

How to successfully work with the “S” style boss?

If you find your next boss happens to be an “S” style, here are a few simple things you can do to establish a positive working relationship in the office:

“D” Styles: Patience, affirmation, support. The “S” style boss will enjoy delegating challenging tasks requiring your speed and agility. Remember to keep the “S” informed on project status and include them when you need to make a decision or meet a challenge. Keep communication lines open. Including the “S” style boss throughout the project will keep them informed, reinforce their trust in you to take charge, and they will appreciate your effort to connect with them as a fellow teammate.

“I” Styles: Slow down, connect, then motivate. The “S” style boss will appreciate your sincere desire to bond with them, along with your ability to motivate and uplift. They’ll likely turn to you when they are feeling unsure or less confident about a project or decision and it will be imperative for you to slow down, listen, and understand what they need from you. Try not to pressure or overwhelm the “S” boss, but rather listen and observe first before shifting to encourage and inspire.

“S” Styles: Reinforce trust and teamwork. The “S” style boss will appreciate your slow and steady pace, much like their own; however, they also are looking to build trust and connection with you, as well. Offer encouragement and affirm skills and strengths as you observe their performance. Let your fellow “S” know when they need to pick up the pace and be sincere about your commitment to the team. Remind them everyone is working towards the same goal, together, and their ability to shift from an observant, participative nature to decisive and confident is crucial to team success.

“C” Styles: Friends first, then facts. While the “S” style boss is more likely to spend time analyzing a situation, they are also expected to become stressed or overwhelmed with too much information, which will slow down their pace even further. Before bombarding the “S” boss with hefty amounts of finite detail, start a conversation to learn what they already know, and what else they need to know to make informed decisions. They will appreciate your effort to connect, and it will reinforce their desire to build trusting relationships with teammates. Let the “S” boss know when they’ve done a great job leading and managing projects.

As you can see, DISC is a powerful and yet a simple tool, not only to understand other people but to communicate better and improve your own performance. Are you ready to take your people skills to the next level and start helping others thrive? Learn more about becoming a Certified Behavioral Consultant and begin or enhance your consulting practice with DISC.

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Written by: Lindy Lamielle

Lindy is a retired Air Force veteran, Certified Behavioral Life Coach, and DISC Consultant and entrepreneur who enjoys learning and sharing knowledge. When she's not sitting on the soccer field sidelines or putting out teenage fires, she fills her cup through speaking, writing, coaching small business owners and entrepreneurs, and performing a little social media sourcery. Personality Style: S-I