S-Style: The Glue That Holds The Team Together?

There are times when there are disagreements in teams. Sometimes those disagreements raise the level of tension in the team. In many instances, the role of calming down the situation is played by the certain set of individuals.

The significance of this is often under-estimated and, in some situations, they might even be deemed to be an unwelcome obstacle to getting to a solution.

An alternative perspective is to view S-Style behaviour as being the glue that holds the team together.

I share below some of the benefits and question marks related to having team members with a preference for S-style behaviour.


S-Style (Extended DISC)Image courtesy of Extended DISC® | FinxS ® Oy Ltd.



The S-style in our DISCerning Model of Communication has “being supportive” as one of its key characteristics. The S-style user does not have to be in charge. They are comfortable with providing support to make the team function more effectively. What that means is that teams can rely on their S-style members to be cooperative and in many instances, to be even self-sacrificing in the interest of the team.

In an environment in which some individuals tend to be inward-looking and focused on their own career advancement, this is a helpful characteristic for the team and organization.


Team members with an S-Style preference tend to promote the concept of mutual respect for all team members. This could result in more effective communication. Team members would listen more attentively and non-defensively. There would be an interest in seeking to understand what is being said and why it is being said. There would be a willingness to look beneath the surface to better appreciate incoming communication from colleagues.

A spin-off benefit is that because team members feel more comfortable with each other, then they will be more willing to share ideas freely. They might express thoughts that are not fully developed but could enhance the discourse for the benefit of the team and the organization.

These tips for setting the tone for communicating with your S-style colleagues is worthy of application across the board.


S-style users tend to have a concern for matters that impact team members at the personal level. Sometimes in the challenge to cope with the highly competitive environment teams may focus on TASK matters. For example, the team might be heavily engaged in achieving goals. What the S-style team member brings to the fore is the importance of taking the PEOPLE factor into consideration.


There is a school of thought that the S-style requirement for peace and calm might actually be counterproductive in some instances. The thinking is that at some point teams need to discuss issues frankly and openly. That discourse might get heated at some point. However, it is precisely those animated discussions that are able ferret out challenging issues

Consequently, when an individual seeks to bring calm and to damper the “enthusiasm”, they might actually be stifling the extent to which all the facts and nuances are brought to the table.

As with many issues balance is required. Sometimes the discourse goes off on a tangent as people get emotional, lose focus and shift attention to positions and personalities.

Here is a thought: Sometimes to maintain a peaceful environment S-Style users might withhold important information. That is the type of information that would enhance a deeper understanding of the situation but might hurt the feelings of others. We need to understand that such actions shortchange the discussion process and the team.



Individuals with a preference for S-style behaviour need to ensure that they present their views on issues and manage their PEOPLE focus in the overall interest of the team and the organization.

On the other hand, D-style users must commit to listening more carefully and spending more time understanding the import and rationale of alternative views.

Another thought relates to team dynamics. Some of our behaviors are reflective of the fact that we are stressed. Maybe our decision making is not as it should be especially as it relates to our communication and our relationship with others. It is in that context that the tendency of S-style team members to be caring, understanding and keen to create a harmonious environment ought to be more widely adopted.