Although low levels of stress are not a fundamental issue, it’s important to ensure they don’t last or increase. DISCp4 profiles manage stress in very different ways.

Triggers for stress

Dominant profiles are always on the go. For them, the main sources of stress are:

  • criticism or questioning of their work
  • incompetence or lack of responsibility on the part of colleagues, or even themselves
  • no (or not enough) decisions being made, lack of action
  • even worse: stagnancy, dead time, slowness or doubt

Influential profiles live through others’ view of them. Their triggers for stress are:

  • no (or not enough) recognition for their work, especially in social circles
  • aggressive or hostile relationships
  • abolishment of freedom and procedures generally speaking
  • loneliness

Stable profiles are part of a global process. Situations they find particularly stressful are:

  • aggressiveness, especially towards their tribe
  • changes that impact people
  • urgency and pressure in general
  • conflicts or inconsistencies

Conscientious profiles act in an orderly fashion. They are specifically stressed by:

  • criticism, especially if it is unfounded
  • chitchat, digressions, never-ending and pointless discussions
  • exuberant gestures
  • absences or lack of information or logic, imprecision generally speaking
  • lack of time

Low-level stress

In the case of low-level stress, people will adapt their behavior to exterior events. Naturally, each DISCp4 profile will react in their own way. Generally speaking, stress will accentuate their typical characteristics.

For red (D) profiles, their impulsiveness will increase and they will fire off swift gestures in all directions, suffer mood swings and show anger and impatience. They will also become more extroverted, take decisions even faster or demonstrate aggressiveness.

For yellow (I) profiles, stress brings out their dramatic side and they will act more extroverted and gesture more as well as becoming stiflingly enthusiastic and exaggerating everything, sometimes to the point of ridicule, possibly making personal or work-related digs at people, throwing out hurtful comments or trying to do too much at once.

For green (S) profiles, stress even in small doses is an impediment which makes them more introverted and causes them to withdraw, sometimes to the point of submission. They will hide their emotions even more, act extremely attentive or experience genuine motivational difficulties.

For blue (C) profiles, stress brings out their fears and can cause them to backtrack. This shows through increased introversion, more visual communication and a desire to get an even better hold of the subjects they are working on.

High-level stress

When stress is at a higher level, DISCp4 profile behaviors can change radically.

Dominant profiles go from one extreme to the other. They become introverted, backtrack, withdraw and exclude themselves. Cases of reds putting an end to projects or activities by simply pulling the plug are not rare. Dominant profiles often fill the role of leaders and this type of reaction can thus have serious, long-lasting consequences for their company or their team.

Influential profiles hate stress. They act less extroverted, sometimes becoming introverted. They separate from the group or start to think people don’t like them anymore. Some top bosses who are known to be Influentials may reject clients who don’t seem to appreciate their true worth, or suddenly start crying uncontrollably at board meetings.

Stable profiles become very touchy. They demonstrate extroverted or even aggressive behavior. They explode or show signs of uncontrollable rage. This is a change in attitude which must not be taken lightly: stable profiles do not fight to hurt but rather to kill. Their reactions can be excessive and disproportionate.

Conscientious profiles exact revenge. They become extroverted, even to excess. They then articulate their grievances in a detailed, well-argued fashion, dragging all their skeletons out of the closet. One of the big risks is to see a Conscientious profile turn into a naysayer.


Stress is never a good thing. We might argue that low-level stress can free up certain situations, as long as it doesn’t go too far, but it’s not a recommended solution.

Generally speaking

Reds and yellows are prepared to pick up the pace. This can be called positive acceleration.

Managers can help by setting them dares or challenges, perhaps with a bonus acting as an incentive; creating challenges for Dominants and stimulating Influentials; prioritizing short-term objectives; starting with a clean slate for every new task or version of it; breaking tasks down into steps; setting up exceptional 110% days and celebrating special times like Christmas, the New Year, Thanksgiving or even Halloween.

Greens and blues need to calm things down. This can be called positive deceleration.

Managers can help by prioritizing relaxing rather than competitive activities for them, especially in groups; respecting and encouraging break times such as meal times; celebrating their successes or group actions; organizing meetings; supporting new staff, organizing tutorials and planning training courses.

A stressful situation or a lasting conflict must be defused.

With a Dominant, all it takes is to set the record straight with no beating about the bush.

With an Influential profile, it’s important to work on their self-confidence and the love and trust their team feels for them.

With a Stable profile, it’s important to intervene quickly, before they reach breaking point, in order to calm things down.

With a Conscientious profile, they need time to set out their arguments one by one and accept them each in turn. A classical mistake is to agree with them too fast.

The DISCp4 wheel can help detect hidden stress among your colleagues.

Even if it is normal for people’s adapted profile (left-hand wheel) and their natural profile (right-hand wheel) to be different, simply because they adapt to different contexts, this can also result from stress. If there is any doubt, it’s a good idea to have the team take their tests again.

The example above shows group results. We can see that some people have adapted and natural profiles which are very similar, whereas others do not.

  • Respondent n°4 shows very few differences between profiles. They must feel comfortable enough in their work environment to show their true face.
  • Respondents n° 1 and 3 adapt their behavior according to the context, but only slightly.
  • Respondent n° 2 shows significant differences between their natural and their adapted profile, proving that they are making an effort to adjust to their team, whether they are aware of it or not.

This example also highlights a global shift of all the profiles concerned to the left. We can thus imagine that the team is under stress or currently working towards concrete results since they are focused on action.


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