Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

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 to move from reacting to responding

The key to being responsive rather than reactive, is to shift our focus.

Research has shown that when people see uncomfortable or stressful situations as a challenge, rather than a threat, their ability to handle those situations improves.

The next time you find yourself annoyed and stressed with the way something is going, pause and shift your focus. See the situation as a challenge and think about how you can use the knowledge and skills you have to meet the challenge. Shift from reaction to responding as a productive problem-solver.

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.

Making it happen

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.)

  • How easy is it for your colleagues to contact you? For example: Do you keep your calendar up to date and share it so colleagues can see when you are available?
  • How does the way you use your workspace affect the service you can give your colleagues? For example: Do you have an organised system for keeping track of important communication and files you are working on with colleagues?
  • Do you treat your colleagues with the same level of courtesy as you do customers? For example: Do you consistently greet your colleagues with a friendly hello, and regularly use a sincere please and thank you, when working with them?
  • Do you behave in ways that make your colleagues feel that they can trust and rely on you? For example: Do you consistently turn up to meetings on time and prepared?
  • Do you take opportunities to make your colleagues feel special? For example: When was the last time that you genuinely complimented a colleague with some positive feedback about a task they had performed?

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.

Need a facilitator to get your team engaged in customer service?