Data Dome Resources – The World According to DISC: DISC Holiday Stress

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The World According to DISC™: Holiday Stress

Happy Holidays?

That may be a hard wish to fulfill considering the extra demands that the holidays bring. The holiday season celebrates love and peace. It is no secret, however, that for many it is also a time of heightened stress. Under stress, the weaknesses of each behavioral style become glaringly evident. We are taken out of our normal routine. As stress increases, “being nice” sometimes gets shoved aside, and we move closer to our natural style - and not always the best behaviors. Think of the DISC implications: From the lack of patience in traffic, to the bump and grind in the malls, we see the signs of the basic styles under stress. For illustrative purposes, we'll reduce the analysis to the most basic 4 quadrants (ignoring the interactions between these). Here's what each factor in a "High" position looks like under moderate to heavy stress:

D - Dominance, Response to Challenges and Problems

High D - Drive, Challenge: How the person responds to problems and challenges.

Under stress: Demanding, Nervy, Aggressive, Egotistical

  • More focus on deadlines - holidays, end of year closures
  • Realizing all the things that didn’t get done this year, anxiety toward gaps in bottom-line results
  • Increased sense of urgency - more to do in less time
  • More pro-active and assertive - fight traffic, crowds, etc.

Consider: How would a Low D under stress respond to problems and challenges?

I - Influence, Persuading Others to Your Point of View

High I - Influencing, Contacts: How the person influences others to his or her point of view.

Under stress: Self-promoting, Overly Optimistic, Gabby, Glib, Unrealistic

  • Less time for social talk, mainly at planned events
  • More business talk - buying, researching gifts, closing end-of-year documents
  • Always running (what did we do before cell phones?)
  • Often being in the not-too-positive environments of overcrowded malls and roads.
  • Having to be more skeptical of all those claims the salespeople make!

Consider: How would a Low I under stress interact with others?

S - Steadiness, Response to the Pace of the Environment

High S - Steadiness, Consistency: How the person responds to the pace of the environment.

Under stress: Undemonstrative, Unconcerned, Hesitant, Inflexible

  • The bell started ringing at Thanksgiving. The pace typically quickens.
  • More multitasking, juggling priorities among multiple demands
  • Continuous adjustment of schedules, “lucky if everything goes right.”

Consider: How would a Low S under stress respond to changes in environmental pace?

C - Compliance - Response to Rules and Procedures

High C - Compliance, Constraints: How the person responds to rules and procedures set by others.

Under stress: Pessimistic, Picky/Fussy, Overly Critical

  • More details to take care of
  • Pressure to get it right in less time

Consider: How would a Low C under stress respond to procedures and rules?

Recognize and Adapt

Even very effective communicators will find it challenging to adapt their behaviors under stress.

However, those who learn to be aware of the weaknesses and blind spots of themselves and others know how to recognize the signs of styles under stress and to adapt themselves more quickly, turning their weaknesses back into the strengths of their behavioral style.

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