Imagine this, you are working with team members on a project. You are discussing with each other how best to get a certain part of the project done. Their ideas are very different to your ideas. You are beginning to become annoyed and stressed. Things aren’t going the way you want.
What would you do in that situation?
What’s your reactive style?
You may be familiar with the ideas of fight and flight response. The ideas of a freeze and fawn response are now also often talked about. These are basic defensive styles that have evolved from our instinctive survival reactions to real dangers and perceived threats.
They can serve us well in the presence of real danger and threats. However, our perception of a situation can trigger us to use them at times when they are not needed or to use them in unhelpful ways. We can also develop the habit of using them when we are in situations that simply make us feel uncomfortable or stressed.
Each of us will tend to have our typical defensive or reactive style, for example:
Freeze: to withdraw and become inactive by avoiding, hiding, or ignoring.
‘Let’s just forget about it. We’ll sort it out later.’
Flight: to withdraw and become active by panicking, worrying or being perfectionistic.
‘Just leave it to me. I’ll sort it.’
Fawn: to connect and become inactive by surrendering, agreeing or appeasing.
‘OK, that’s fine. Let’s just do it your way.’
Fight: to connect actively by being aggressive, controlling, or demanding.
‘You’re wrong. I’m right. We’re doing it my way.’
The problem with each of those reactive styles is that they can limit our ability to productively solve problems with our colleagues.
Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.
He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.
He is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.
One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.
Alana is a director and senior trainer with Skillset, based in Wellington.
She takes workshops on a wide range of topics and is at the leading edge in the world in teaching investigative interviewing.
Some of her negotiation clients negotiate multi-million dollar deals. Others just need to sort out arrangements with their suppliers.
Alana has attended a master class on investigative interviewing the UK and keeps in touch with her classmates.
Dharan is an international master trainer with post-graduate qualifications in adult education.
His assignments have included training police officers and university managers in the Middle East, as well as teachers and staff of large organisations in New Zealand.
Dharan's topics are 'effective meetings', 'problem-solving and decision-making', 'team development', 'training for trainers' and 'customer service'. He particularly enjoys helping people with diverse points of view agree on practical solutions.
Dharan is based in Wellington. On windy days he loves riding waves and attempting to fly.
Roydon specialises in engagement - how to ensure that your staff enjoy coming to work, are at their most productive, speak well of your organisation after hours - and stay.
He has been training for more than 15 years. His knowledge of engagement comes from the research and his experience working with a wide range of organisations.
Roydon holds qualifications in adult teaching and learning. He is a professional member of the New Zealand Association for Training and Development and an accredited member of the National Speakers Association.
Andrew Jack is Skillset's social media commentator.
Being Generation Y has helped ensure that social media is a big part of his life. He's an experienced blogger, builder of websites and an aspiring author.