Situational Leadership® and DiSC®: Managing the “High S” (STEADINESS)

When you attend a Situational Leadership® training session, you learn that leadership styles are neither “good” nor “bad.” In large part your degree of success as a leader is a function of the person you are attempting to influence, the task that needs to be accomplished and your ability to effectively execute the leadership style with the highest probability of success.

When you attend DiSC® training you learn that human behavior is a product of how people perceive and respond to their environment. You get a DiSC® profile based on your DiSC® assessment that provides validated insight into why you behave the way you behave. Beyond that, it provides you with valuable insight into why others behave the way they do.

Since leadership is both a complicated and thoughtful endeavor, it stands to reason that leaders will benefit from the ability to integrate tools like Situational Leadership® and DiSC®. In that regard, imagine you are a Situational Leader with a task that needs to be accomplished through a follower whose DiSC® profile suggests they are a “high S” (STEADINESS: cautious and accepting). What behaviors would a “high S” tend to exhibit at each of the four levels of Performance Readiness®, and what should you (as the leader) consider doing as you execute each of the four leadership styles?

DiSC® Style—STEADINESS Performance Readiness® Cues and Leadership Style Responses


  • R1Unable but Insecure or Unwilling
    • InsecureAppears “dazed” or “shocked” by the prospect of moving forward
    • UnwillingWill openly avoid opportunities to discuss discomfort
  • S1 – High Task/Low Relationship Behavior
    • DOCalmly provide detailed instruction on what needs to be accomplished, how it needs to be done and when it needs to be completed; provide regular, ongoing feedback
    • DON’TMake abrupt, unannounced changes to the plan; underestimate aversion to personal conflict


  • R2Unable and Confident/Willing
    • Agreeable, supportive and methodical approach to development
  • S2High Task/High Relationship Behavior
    • DOPosition task benefits in the context of its positive impact on others (stakeholders, customers, etc.); mirror their pace as you provide guidance and respond to questions
    • DON’TUnderrate the time necessary to “work things through” or develop updated comfort


  • R3Able but Insecure or Unwilling
    • InsecureIgnores performance progress as a mechanism to prolong the pace of development
    • UnwillingIncapacitated by the perception of volatility
  • S3High Relationship/Low Task Behavior
    • DOEase into a conversation focused on roadblocks to development or obstacles to ongoing performance; actively listen and reflect what you hear; remain aware of the pace associated with discussion
    • DON’TUnderestimate the impact of sincere appreciation for effort and attention to detail


  • R4Able and Confident/Willing
    • Thoughtfully responds as a dependable source of support and stability
  • S4Low Relationship/Low Task
    • DOReinforce the value they bring to others; remain available for discussion (if needed); enquire about their level of comfort acting as a mentor for others who need to develop proficiency on this task
    • DON’T—Forget the level of job-related satisfaction they get from performing tasks that truly help others