Disc in crisis

Understanding the DiSC style of yourself and others can help you identify techniques to help you manage stress and loss in ways that are most effective for your personal well-being, and your team. Everyone has a unique combination of thoughts, behaviors, and strengths within the four primary DiSC styles and will respond differently to stress, and coping techniques than others who share their DiSC style. 

These suggestions are examples of what may work for each style based on a general understanding of the DiSC quadrants, but it may take some experimentation and self-reflection to identify what works best for you.  Be patient and be open to trying new approaches to managing stress and loss for yourself as well as those on your team.

We all have a steady state within our style and the context of our work life, which may be different from how we engage and behave in other situations.  For example, we could be more “D – direct” in the workplace, but more “S – steady” outside of work.  Select the style that aligns with the scenario you want to address (work or home). Consider whether you are currently in your “steady-state”, “under stress”, or beyond stressed into “distress”. 

Typically, under stress, we may be “more of” our usual style.  Given enough unaddressed stress we may eventually get to the point that our strengths are overused and begin to work against us. 

When we are in distress, we are more likely to completely flip styles to our “opposite”.  For example, in distress a direct “D” may throw their hands up in the air and walk away; a moderate and thoughtful “S” may become demanding; a friendly and outgoing “I” may withdraw and become temperamental; a cautious “C” may lash out.

Dominance (D)

In charge, decisive, active, data oriented

Fears loss of control, vulnerability, failure

May become demanding, controlling, intense, and impatient. Works harder. May control through decision making. 

May not express feelings, probably won’t engage in talk therapy.

May leave, “check out”


Schedule time to rest and recover, exercise to reduce stress, meditate (this returns your sense of personal control, even if you only meditate for a few minutes)


Let them know if they are monopolizing a conversation or limiting others’ abilities to express their feelings.


Give opportunity to act/work independently, with decision making authority.

Influence (I)

Persuasive, enthusiastic, engaging

Fears conflicts, rejection, isolation

May over-sell, over-explain, become emotional. May joke or bring up tragedy at inopportune times but this is their way of processing grief. May initiate a “celebration” or remembrance as their way of trying to be optimistic about the future.

May be more likely to talk about their feelings but prefer individual therapy so they can have someone’s undivided attention.

May give up, become moody and withdrawn


Reach out, spend time with others, exercise to burn off energy. Slow down, and listen to others intently, to reduce your mental chatter.


Allow them space to create an uplifting or encouraging atmosphere. Provide opportunity to move, meet people, interact.


Allow them to express grief and healing through organizing team gatherings or overseeing outreach activities.

Steadiness (S)

Supportive, Friendly, loyal

Fears loss of stability, discord, offending others

May give in to others’ needs. May practice avoidance, escapism through unproductive habits (TV, Eating). May seek security, stability, permanence (purchase home, sign contract, etc).

Seeks solace in family and close friends. May draw loved ones near.

May prefer group therapy so can be part of a community.

May act hurt, become stubborn


Reach out, spend time with confidants, face and name uncomfortable emotions and do not judge yourself for them.


Involve them in decisions and planning, don’t let them take on too much work (help them say no), encourage them to share their feelings rather than ignore them (coach them to put their own oxygen mask on first).


Give them the care they normally give to everyone else. Allow them to work behind the scenes until they feel ready to re-engage with others without sacrificing themselves.

Conscientious (C)

Careful, quiet, organized

Fears being wrong, criticism, strong emotions, ambiguity

May not be able to make decisions, become critical, and dwell on issues.

May want to control the details of a remembrance/event to assure no mistakes.  May become irritated by seemingly small details that are missed. (e.g the wrong flower, font, photo) Shows care through attention to detail.

May not participate in talk therapy but given time and space may discuss feelings.

May engage in emotional attacks


Try meditation and deep breathing exercises to regain personal control. Break responsibilities up into small, manageable tasks.


Share as much information as reasonable. In assignments, be specific, share rationale, allow extra time to complete, be available to help with decision-making and work prioritization.


Where there are unknowns in the team workload, assign them to assess and monitor, report on changing situation.  Task oriented so may need action items to keep them busy.







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