It’s winter in the United States. That means the days are growing shorter and people are growing more stressed. Plus there are all the holidays and accompanying pressures. So what can we do to reduce stress for people at our organizations? Some tactics, such as limiting the availability of alcohol or increasing one’s level of physical activity, will apply across personalities. Other tactics are style specific.
The D style and stress
It’s not always easy being so driven, especially during a time when you’re getting so many messages to relax and enjoy the spirit of the season. What really stresses a D?
- Following strict rules or protocols
- Having their authority challenged
- Lacking control
- Having little independence
- Dealing with others’ emotions
- Dealing with incompetent people
How can you help out the D?
- Allow flexibility. Maybe you follow a tradition or ceremony or celebration in a specific way each year. If you want the D involved give her some leeway. Let her know what you want to accomplish and allow her to get results her own way.
- Don’t over schedule them.
- If you need them to make several decisions, bring all of them at once. And be as brief and direct with them as possible.
- Understand that can emotions make them uncomfortable. So maybe offer a handshake rather than a bear hug if you don’t know him well.
- Let him initiate a new activity or project.
- Explain that an employee engagement activity or a family outing isn’t just to make people feel good, there are real results to be achieved in terms of performance and cohesion.
The i style and stress
Holidays and winter celebrations seem tailor made for the exuberant i, but there’s also so much pressure to get the work done before you catch up with everyone’s weekend. What really stresses an i?
- Performing routine tasks
- Undertaking detailed analysis
- Having little change for self-expression
- Being in a dull setting
- Being isolated
- Being among unsocial people
How can you help out the i?
- Let her bring a Cherpumple for dessert. (Maybe plan for regular cherry, pumpkin and apple pies as well.)
- Don’t ask him to calculate the ROI of the holiday staff party.
- Ask her for party event and decoration ideas. Let her be expressive.
- If you’re taking each staff member out for coffee, ask her if she’d like to include an additional teammate.
- Don’t meet with him in the dark and dingy backroom space. Go somewhere with at least a window.
- Share a good story.
- Remind her that she can’t do everything or be everywhere. Help her prioritize.
The S style and stress
Traditions mean a lot to the S style and the holiday season is filled with them. This should be a time when they get to shine at bringing people together. But schedules, commitments, weather and so many other factors can derail their plans. What really stresses an S?
- Giving people negative feedback
- Making unpopular decisions
- Being in an aggressive setting
- Having to argue for their point of view
- Taking risks
- Working in a chaotic environment
How can you help out the S?
- Keep up a few traditions.
- Offer to coach her through a confrontation she needs to have.
- Let him know you care about him as a person.
- Prepare them as much as possible for major changes.
- Include her on your team or in your group.
- Help them not to over-commit to tasks and events or to finish that one job they’re struggling to finish.
The C style and stress
The C is a rather private style and people might assume that the C won’t enjoy all the sociability of this season. But they also love their friends, family and colleagues and can enjoy a good party. What really stresses a C?
- Being wrong or unprepared
- Having little private time
- Being forced to mingle with strangers
- Being around erratic people
- Making decisions without time for analysis
- Working under time pressure
How can you help out C?
- Give him some alone time. If he steps away from an activity, understand that it might not be because he’s feeling hurt or ignored.
- Let her prepare for an activity. If you’re going to have a karaoke machine, let her see the song list ahead of time.
- Let them plan out the details.
- Avoid pulling them away for a spontaneous celebration.
- If you want to praise his work, do it in person and with specifics.
If you’re noticing that a colleague, friend or family member is stressed out, know that what might comfort you, might add to their stress. An i might love it if you asked them how you could help them out. A C might prefer to be left alone for a bit. A Di might really enjoy MCing an event, but a SC would find it a real challenge.
by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the DiSCProfile.com team