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Data Dome Resources – The World According to DISC: Stress Someone Out in Style

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The World According to DISC™: How We Stress Someone Out in Style

(DISC Style, that is)

When we don't understand the differences between us in terms of behavioral style preferences, we can unknowingly cause stress for the people around us. This leads to miscommunications, conflicts, and workplace issues of many kinds.

A stress style is a reserve style of behavior that emerges when one feels “at the end of my rope” and “just can’t take it anymore.”

Different behavioral styles find different situations more stressful than others.

Using the most basic DISC behavioral style attributes, here are some typical stressors.

Don’t try these at work if you want a more productive workplace!



Stress Out a High D


Block and threaten their personal goals. They can’t take their foot off the gas, so make them hit the brakes as well. Get in their way, move slowly, make a lot of small talk. Take advantage of them. Create a wall of obstructionist bureaucrats toward which they must submit. Waste their time whenever possible. Whine!



Stress Out a High I


Splash water on their enthusiasm. Dampen their optimism. Frown when they smile, and talk down to them. Don’t let them speak up, and forbid them from expressing their views and opinions. Don’t let them show any emotion, not even to gesture. Get down to business immediately, and treat them like objects. Take away their phone and their workmates!



Stress Out a High S


Change the rules and processes. Without warning, change them again. Suddenly change direction. And again, faster. Change expected results of routine actions. Question their loyalty. Don’t prioritize. Don’t be available for clarifications. Rush them. Give them way too much to do by day’s end, then threaten their job!



Stress Out a High C


Criticize their work. Deny them time - rush them, send them to useless training and pointless discussion. Force them into immediate decisions and commitments. Deny them sufficient information for making decisions. Give them lousy equipment, don’t let them upgrade. Randomize processes and procedures. Give them erratic and emotional responses, forcing them to release projects before they can be checked or tested. Change plans - arbitrarily and often - and don’t let them finish anything!




REAL Leadership: Five Ways to Lead the Way to Less Stress

Real leadership inspires voluntary commitment, not just grudging compliance.

  • Identify and be aware of your own stress behaviors. Don’t contribute to the problem.
  • Acknowledge the stress behavior. We all have rough days - give the benefit of the doubt.
  • Avoid “pushing the style buttons” of a person exhibiting stress behavior (see above).
  • Adapt your own style to that of others, with behaviors that meet the needs of those you lead. Don’t lead like you would want to be led. Lead like they want to be led.
  • Identify elements in the work environment that can be adjusted to minimize style-based stressors.
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