Does your company use assessments such as the Myers Briggs tool? Many of my clients use these measurements to build empathy. Through them, employees learn that their different styles of communication are all acceptable and “normal.”
Lately, I’ve realized that differences in our emotional reactions can also be seen as a “style” issue. Some of us naturally want to “fight” if we feel threatened while others withdraw in “flight.” In the workplace, both fight and flight can be very subtle: a look, a few words, or a tone of voice. But if we are honest with ourselves, we can discover the hidden impulse of fight or flight in some of our reactions.
Fighters (my own tendency) can see themselves as passionate and feel that those who withdraw “don’t care.” Flee-ers want to keep the atmosphere pleasant and may see Fighters as destructive and out of control. Today I’m feeling more empathy for a co-worker who withdraws. I had thought he “didn’t care.” What a relief to realize that we show our care in different ways.
The daily work of EI never ends….
What is your experience of fight or flight at work?
© 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved