Behavioral Scale Deep Dive: High Submissiveness

Submissiveness: The desire to conform & defer to others. 

Are you kind and supportive in team settings? Would you rather agree with someone else’s opinion to avoid a conflict? If so, you may be a high scorer in submissiveness. Let’s take a look at the behavioral traits of someone with a high score in submissiveness and what managers can do to best encourage their growth. 

High Submissiveness

Meet Jerry. Jerry provides a positive presence in team meetings, openly supporting other’s ideas and opinions. He doesn’t often feel the need to give his two cents and would rather just go with what everyone else thinks for the benefit of the team and to avoid conflict. On projects, he loves being able to help other people with what they need and has a service-oriented mindset. He has no problem taking instructions from his supervisors and works conscientiously to achieve tasks. At the end of the day, he feels really good if he contributes to a team victory.

Jerry is a good example of someone who likely has a high submissiveness score. He:

  • Thinks and acts in terms of win/win
  • Enjoys team victories over personal victories and likes to see others succeed
  • Prefers a supportive role that allows you to be helpful and care about people and their needs
  • Tends to be conscientious, unassuming and patient
  • Is yielding and kind
  • Is a team player
  • Values the counsel of others
  • Is a good listener, not often in conflict with others, and is comfortable in support roles, yielding to more dominant types. 

Tips for Managing High Scorers

Although high scorers in submissiveness can provide a kind and supportive presence on a team, sometimes their tendency to give in too easily to their more dominant counterparts can have negative consequences in their personal and work life.  High scorers in submissiveness may yield too quickly, providing a disservice to teamwork. In doing so, they may allow less well considered, impulsive and unnecessarily risky decisions to be accepted due to their need to avoid conflict which ultimately hurts everyone on the team.

Additionally, they may not always say what they mean in order to avoid upsetting others either because they fear them or they fear to hurt their feelings. This suppression of emotions and opinions can boil up and create conflict within their relationships.

Whether you’re a manager of a high submissiveness scorer or wanting to learn how to better understand a colleague’s behavior, here are some ideas on how to effectively manage this behavioral trait. 

  • Encourage them to make an extra effort to defend their opinions when in the presence of more dominant types.
  • Contribution, helping, teamwork and support roles motivate the high scorer in Submissiveness. Try to give them these types of roles.
  • Encourage them to practice offering their opinion.

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