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Deeper Dive into Complying (how to say NO)

Debrief questions and further reading

After viewing the video, please consider the following questions.

  1. What parts of the video stayed with you, or do you recall more easily? Share with each other those parts now.
  2. Paul said “rejection” was the primary fear behind the compensatory behavioural pattern of compliance. Put more specifically, if we are defined as someone who is approved by others, we tend to fear rejection from others.
    Consider now when this fear might be prompted within. Even if you might more fully identify with one of the other reactive tendencies, take a moment to think over when you might feel anxious about being rejected or not being approved of. Those moments might be with your team, with customers, with other departments, or with more senior people within your organisation. Identify at least one moment when you might have felt concerned about being disapproved of or marginalised in some way.
  3. Now, in connection to that moment (or moments), let’s understand and accept it a little more fully. Why do that? Because it is a VERY powerful means to become MUCH more accepting observers of ourselves and, as a consequence, create more options for ourselves at difficult moments.
    Consult the “partial list of feelings” page at the end of these questions. Run your eye down the list and nominate any feelings that you can identify as being associated with the moment(s) you identified above.Write them down or mark them if you have a hard copy of the sheet.
  4. Can you identify with any particular self-talk in that moment? Is there something that might ave fleetingly passed through your mind at the moment you felt the feelings you have identified? For example, might you have said to yourself, “why are they being so unfair/stupid/insensitive?”, or “this is going to go very badly” or, “how can I get out of this?”, or perhaps something else entirely.Write down one or two self-talk phrases now.
  5. Finally, reflect on how you might have behaved in those moments. Can you identify what subtle, or not-so-subtle behaviour you engaged in that was prompted by those feelings? For example, did you become unusually quiet and withdraw, did you say something critical or cynical, did you say something self-deprecating, or perhaps you behaved in entirely different ways?
    Please bravely identify a “reactive” behaviour that was prompted by your feelings in that moment and write it down.
  6. Now it’s time to share with each other. If you are willing (and please feel free to “pass”), please share with one another:
    • the “moment” you identified,
    • the feelings you associated with that moment,
    • your associated self-talk, and
    • the reactive behaviour you engaged in at that moment.

    Please remember to listen to each other and avoid offering solutions or reassurance.

  7. After each person has shared, reflect together on how this tendency might be inhibiting your team from fulfilling its potential. Perhaps there are ways you as a team can better support each other to risk being disapproved of by each other those outside your team. For example, are there difficult topics that need to be raised, boundaries that need to be asserted, or tensions that need to be leaned into?Make plans to help your team become a team that deeply relates, especially in the context of tensions, conflict or criticism.

Resources and further reading

The Leadership Circle (TLC) Wheel is reproduced for reference on the following page.

The Partial List of Feelings follows.

Also provided for reference and further reading on the following pages:

  • The Three Reactive Tendencies
  • Underlying Structure of the Reactive Mind


Partial List of Feelings

The Three Reactive Patterns:

Underlying Structure of the Reactive Mind

Having explored the three reactive tendencies and how they appear in our behaviour, let’s now take a closer look at the
underlying structure of those patterns. Understanding this structure can provide a rich and powerful insight into how these
reactive patterns arise, and the new thinking patterns that are required to bypass the reactive ones.

The problem is not the strength, it’s that the strength is identified with.

In other words …

The more we identify with the strength of being liked, accepted and approved, the more likely we fear rejection, are risk-averse, indecisive, cowardly and compliant.

The more we identify with and define ourselves by our results, we then fear failure and fail to delegate, collaborate, build teamwork and allow others to engage meaningfully and creatively. We become autocratic and controlling.

The more we identify with or define ourselves by our intellectual capability, then we fear vulnerability and become aloof and superior.

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