CEO and Business Coaching
DiSC High S Personality Profile Spotlight, Michael Whatmore
In this article series about personality types resulting from the DiSC executive assessment test, we investigate the High-S Personality Profile.
At an earlier point in my career, I served as regional director for a financial and real estate organization. The competition was fierce and, while directing more than a dozen offices spanning two regions, I had the good fortune to hire a brilliant assistant, who truly understood my vision for how I wanted these offices to function.
Among her duties was to handle routine calls from the sales and administrative managers in field offices. After obtaining specific details, she presented their queries to me and, in later discussions, would relate my guidelines to these managers. This process educated her on my vision and the parameters of my responses. With a quick and inquiring mind, she soon found bringing recommendations for action to me accelerated decisions.
Once, while I was on vacation, her listening skills and respect for consistency proved invaluable as she deftly handled routine calls in my absence. Her typical response was, “Mr. Whatmore would handle the issue this way.” The majority of these managers were unaware that I was away; indeed, some insisted that they had spoken to me during the 10 days I was vacationing. This trusted employee fielded calls in ways that dovetailed perfectly with my management style. This is a DiSC High-S personality profile at its best.
By a wide margin, High-S is the most common DiSC personality style. Considering that some people —from Gandhi to Mother Theresa to Michael J. Fox to good ol’ Charlie Brown— xhibit strong High-S personalities, one recognizes a wide range of behaviors and tendencies in this group. When a leader takes the time to understand this personality style and puts its strengths to good use, they can achieve terrific results in less time. This is called leveraging your time.
At their best, High-S people are:
- Extraordinarily Consistent. There are wild cards on any team; typically, they are not High-S people. Known for their “steady as she goes” mentality and behaviors, a High-S profile will bring strength and stability to your organization.
- Patient. They will work on a project until it is perfected, and often have the patience to allow others to do the same.
- Loyal. These individuals tend to be loyal to their leaders, their teams, and their friends and family.
- Good Listeners. Active listening skills, such as nodding and eye contact, are characteristic of High-S personalities. They are consensus-builders, and they want others to have the opportunity to share their views.
- Harmonious. They seek balance and calm in relationships, which often makes them good partners.
- Low Key & Easygoing. They can go with the flow.
- Predictable. While we tend to be excited by spontaneous personalities, predictability allows these types of people to thrive in the workplace.
These traits often lead them to excel in roles where problem solving is necessary. They have the wherewithal to stick with a challenge until they arrive at a solution, and they can mediate issues within the team.
The Other Side of the Coin
As with any personality type, strengths can become weaknesses under stress. High-S personalities can be:
- Worriers. When they do not have structure or stability, they tend to fret more than is needed, which can cause them to appear indecisive.
- Inflexible. On the opposite end of the spectrum, these employees can exert a will of iron. Far from indecisive, they’ll draw a line in the sand and quietly stand by it.
- Passive-aggressive. When change is implemented, they can “protest” through hostile jokes, sarcasm, stubbornness, procrastination, and other indirect acts. They might become the silent martyr or engage in destructive, passive-aggressive rebellion.
- Low Key & Easygoing. This strength can become a liability when High-S employees go along with a decision with which they disagree.
Management Tip: Foster Stability
Accentuate positive attributes and encourage High-S team members to contribute their best, a leader is advised to provide a stable work environment. People with this dominant personality style thrive on consistency, and it is important for them to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. Using my assistant as an example, she knew the parameters of my expectations, and this knowledge gave her the structure, the power, and the confidence by which she became extraordinarily effective and memorable.
It is important to remember that these people can be very creative and independent, and providing them with reliable organization does not restrict them; in fact, it gives them the space to exercise their influence and skills. They prefer tasks that can be done from beginning to end all at once, and they excel in team-oriented environments. High-S personalities respond very well to acknowledgement and recognition of a job well-done, for themselves as well as for their teammates.
Change Is Inevitable
Change may create discomfort for a High-S. Just as other personalities may thrive on change and the unknown, High-S folks thrive on the known and the need to know the plan. During transitions, managers can help smooth the waters by clearly explaining the change and the anticipated impacts, which will give the High-S employee time to absorb and consider the new parameters.
When given the stability they need, High-S personalities are productive, capable, and trustworthy employees. They can be the glue of high-performance teams. While High-D and High-I folks tend to dominate with their bold personalities, it is often the High-S who is diligently working to get the job done.
High-S folks bring a calm, cool, collected, and well-balanced demeanor and approach to the workplace. With these qualities, they are well suited to customer service and support roles, client-facing positions, and team-development situations.
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