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 a perfectionist.
‘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.
How often do you depend upon your colleagues so that you can provide exceptional service to your customers?
How often do your colleagues rely on you to complete a task, so that they can then complete a task they are responsible for?
The service we give each other as colleagues has a direct impact on the service that we give to our customers.
How can we make sure that we are giving our colleagues good service? You might want to discuss these sample questions with your colleagues. You're sure to be able to add your own. (Think about times your team's in-house service has been less than perfect.)
By paying attention to the quality of service we give our colleagues we raise the quality of service we offer our customers. And it can make our work far more enjoyable.