Destructive conflict response #4:​ DEFENSIVENESS

Anxious/protective in the face of criticism.

When we trust things will be okay regardless of the outcome of conflict, there’s no reason to be defensive. We can be open to different opinions.

At the heart of defensiveness is insecurity. We don’t want to admit failure, being wrong, or shortcomings. Did you know our brain treats intellectual threats the same as a physical one?

Thoughts that lead to defensiveness:
• Their opinion is off-base.
• This isn’t my fault.

To overcome defensiveness:

• Do I tend to view criticism as a win/lose situation?
• Is there a fear-based reason I won’t face my short-comings?

• “I’m being unfairly attacked. I need to defend myself.”
• Try: “This person cares enough to share feedback with me. I should remain open to see if I can improve.”

CHOOSE to be open and receptive. Be curious about the unique point of view others have that we don’t. Change your thinking that feedback is an attack. Self-awareness and openness to feedback is a top predicator of career success.

Commit to REFLECT, REFRAME, and CHOOSE to be open and receptive.

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