In this series about the four basic personality types in the DISC profile, we’ve gone over Dominant “D’s” and Interactive “I’s”, and this week we are going to learn about the Supportive “S’s”.
(Again, I received some of this information from the excellent book Different Children, Different Needs by Charles F. Boyd, as well as from a wonderful life coaching course through the Christian Coaching Institute).
It’s important to remember that just as each personality type is equally valuable, we should also not “pigeon-hole” ourselves and others, thinking that because our personality type is a certain way, we will always be that way and never act differently.
We all have choices in life, and even if our tendency is to think or act one way—for example, to want to talk a lot or to not want to speak up much– that doesn’t mean we can’t choose to adjust in different situations (with lots of God’s help and practice over time). We will always have certain underlying preferences, but we can grow and choose how to act in given circumstances.
At the same time, constantly choosing to do something different than our inner preferences can be tiring and may not be desirable in the long haul. For example, working in a job that doesn’t suit your personality type can be exhausting and demotivating. I would be better to find something you like and that fits with your personality preferences, so that you will enjoy it and feel confident in your abilities.
Now on to “S’s”. What are people of this dominant type like?
“S’s” can be described as stable, supportive and soft-hearted. Unlike the “D’s” and “I’s”, they are introverted—meaning that they get their energy from being alone and quiet. This doesn’t necessarily mean that “S’s” don’t like being with people, but after a lot of time with people they will usually feel drained (unlike an extrovert who would usually feel more energized after time with people, but who feels drained after too much time alone). So, after extended time with people, “S’s” often need to quietly relax and recharge by being by themselves for awhile.
“S’s” are primarily people-focused over task-focused, so they like to ask questions of people and are good listeners. They dislike conflict, and therefore can be good peace-makers between people. They usually like routine, and are often not too interested in big changes or risks.
I am primarily an “S” type (with some C and D mixed in there). Although I certainly don’t fit completely “in the box” (I generally like change and get bored with too much routine, I think), I do match up with a lot of the descriptions of an “S”. I hate conflict and usually want people to get along.
I enjoy my times alone, especially while reading, writing, and being in nature, and I try to support others and listen to them (but I certainly don’t always succeed—just ask my husband). I’ve got plenty of the weaknesses of an “S”, as well, as you’ll read about below.
My Niece, for Example
Children who are “S’s” are often seen as “easy to parent”. Although parents of “S’s” might tell us they aren’t always peaches and cream, “S’s” tend to adjust to their parents wishes and are quite submissive to rules and expectations. “The challenge for [parents] is to not take advantage of their accommodating nature” (Boyd, Different Children, Different Needs).
“S’s” generally seek to get along with others in their social groups, and they aren’t usually demanding of their way compared to other types. They also often have one or two really good friends, unlike the “I” type that likes to have lots of friends.
I have a niece who is probably an “S”. She isn’t particularly outgoing when you first meet her (which is fine and good), but she is very sweet towards you once she gets to know you a bit. She is encouraging, goes along with most ideas for activities, and would even at the age of 3 inform her Nana that it was time for her nap! (I’m not sure if this is typical, so don’t get your hopes up, you moms of “S’s”.) She’s likes to be helpful and has been a great little helper with her baby sister.
Some “S” Weaknesses
But even this sweet type has it’s weaknesses, and let’s look at a few of them. For one, because “S’s” generally like routine and dislike change, they can get highly anxious when change needs to happen. Although routine definitely has it’s good points, it’s important for S’s to realize that change can bring opportunities and joys that they may not realize now.
Because of S’s dislike for conflict, they can gloss over tensions that should be addressed. They may have trouble speaking up when the truth needs to be spoken (in love). They may suppress their feelings, giving in to others when they don’t really want to and acting like things are okay while inwardly simmering with anger.
Although it might be uncomfortable for “S’s” to admit and speak the truth even when it may not be well-received, in the long-run “S’s” will get farther in their goals and relationships by letting the truth be known in a loving manner.
Fortunately, “S’s” can also learn to speak up more over time and can learn to more easily accept change and take needed risks.
Introverted is Good
Sometimes people with the S or C types (to be discussed next week) may wish they are more outgoing and “popular” like the other types seem to be. But S’s and C’s need to know that they are truly awesome just the way they are… with unique strengths and abilities that the “louder” types might lack.
The book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is said to be an excellent book to help both extroverts and introverts to understand and deeply appreciate the introverted types. (I’ve ordered it from the library and am in the process of reading it.)
How about you? Do you notice any “S” tendencies in yourself or in people around you? What are some other strengths and corresponding weaknesses of the “S” personality type? If you are an “S”, what are some ways you can harness your strengths and perhaps work on your weaknesses? Whatever your personality type is, how do you think you can learn to get along better with the “S’s” in your life?