The Price of Compassion: An Empathetic Primer for S Styles
When you think about a steadfast, stable, secure individual who can see the big picture, considers various points of view, and seeks to provide guidance and direction to those they lead, does that make you happy? That’s precisely what S styles exist to offer, but it doesn’t come without a price. (The S’s out there are probably thinking, “Yes, and the struggle is real!”)
Why would such a seemingly positive and productive behavioral style come with its own set of struggles? Well, because people are different and in order for S styles to effectively and authentically be who they are, it’s important they also understand how to allow others space to be who they are…in this case, the D, I and C behavioral styles.
Knowing that S styles do not enjoy conflict, consider this primer a quick reference guide for conflict management and resolution when things get a little rocky in personal and professional relationships. Compassion fatigue is a silent stressor many S types unknowingly struggle with. Trying to manage the emotions of others can becoming overwhelmingly taxing. The goal is to learn to thrive and remain effective in your strengths while working with differing behavioral styles.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Maya Angelou
D Equals Empathy, Slowly
Did you know there’s a D in ‘empathy?’ Yup, it’s silent, but it’s there, and probably pretty direct and decisive, as well. So, if you’re an S style looking to show empathy to a D style, let’s break the strategy down for maximum impact.
First, it’s important to understand that you’re positionally and behaviorally opposites on the DISC model. Active, task-oriented vs. passive, people-oriented. You can’t get much more opposite than that! However, connections can still be formed.
When showing empathy to a D style, don't expect an immediate return on an emotional investment. It's valuable and will pay dividends over time, but it takes time. At first it may feel as though you’re being rejected or shut out; and that may be true to some extent. Let your consistency build trust with the D style. D types value trust and respect in relationships much like S types do. Don't be afraid to take the first step towards building the empathy bridge. It will most certainly be appreciated in times of need.
Showing Empathy in Moderation
If there was ever a DISC match to be made in heaven, perhaps this is it - S and I styles are a dynamic, empathy duo.
People-focused, caring, engaging, and team-oriented, it won't take long to connect on a more personal level with the I style. S types are great listeners and I types are fantastic conversationalists.
Perhaps, the biggest challenge will be to keep the main thing, the main thing when communicating and connecting with an I style. Getting drawn into too many emotions all at once can become overwhelming for an S to process. Remember, I’s want to be accepted but also need guidance and direction at times to stay on track. Don’t be afraid to give I styles a little nudge to help them get back on track.
There's Power in Passivity
From one passive DISC style to the other, S and C styles are generally a mellow mash up on the communication scale. C’s like to offer all the supporting details when problem solving, which S’s enjoy as they are often looking for consensus. Sometimes the information C’s may provide may be conflicting or contentious. This will be a challenge for S’s to address these friction points without being received as being too critical.
C’s feel most at ease when structure is clear and defined, even in conversation. Giving them an opportunity to come prepared will help. Try sending an agenda ahead of time to help frame discussion points and highlight key information and challenges.
Although, S’s are great at offering safe and inclusive opportunities for sharing thoughts and feelings, which C’s may or may not be interested in doing, depending on the scenario. Giving space for C’s to articulate their specific needs will help S’s learn ways they can best support and collaborate on even the most challenging projects.
S styles are like the relationship glue that everyone loves to stick to. They’re emotionally flexible, trustworthy, predictable, and patient. That’s quite a bit to invest in one person, let alone an entire team or organization. It’s valuable and worth every empathetic cent. Be sure to invest in your S styles, so they are able to continue investing in your team.