Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships
Welcome to “Healing From Within” with your host Sheryl Glick a Reiki Master Teacher energy practitioner, medium, and author of her newest book in a trilogy, A New Life Awaits Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening sharing messages from Spirit that show us our challenges are not merely economic political or societal but a disconnect from our true being or soul essence. Today Sheryl is delighted to welcome Judge James W. Tamm, author of Radical Collaboration which provides tools to increase your ability to work successfully with others and get the results desired.
As listeners of “Healing From Within” have come to expect from Sheryl and her empowered and knowledgeable experts in their fields who share intimate and personal observations and evaluations as a means to improve the human condition and life personally as well as collectively, reaching for a higher level of awareness and higher consciousness as we explore the many aspects of thought and creation that influence life decisions. Each show helps us self-investigate, leading us to recognize we are more than physical beings and our energetic presence when addressed helps us know life in its infinite possibilities.
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” Judge Jim Tamm, author of Radical Collaboration an expert on dispute resolution and building collaborative relationships, mediated more than 1,000 employment disputes during his 25 years as a senior administrative law judge for the state of California. James is currently managing director of the international consulting firm Business Consultants Network, Inc. We will discuss how to figure out what your own defenses are and why you have them and then learn how to deal with defenses other people have. With an increased sense of safety, openness and authentic interactions become a pathway to improved relationships and greater happiness overall.
When Judge Tamm is asked to think back to his childhood and remember a person place event that may have signaled to him or others the interests work and lifestyle he might pursue as an adult Jim tells us he wanted to be a pilot a fireman and a lawyer and Sheryl laughs and says like a Vitruvian man you have lived all your soul dreams.
Judge Tamm tells us why he decided to write Radical Collaboration and how personal challenges or experiences played a role. He gives us a definition of what Radical Collaboration is. Radical is from the root word “fundamental,” favoring basic change as in the social structure. Collaboration means to work or act jointly, to labor together.
Since Radical Collaboration offers practical methods to improve your skills for building collaborative relationships and is well researched and has documented dramatic positive results, many businesses and corporations operating in increasingly complex global markets, it is necessary to bring consultants in to teach these methods.
Studies have determined that almost one hundred organizations reduced their conflict by an average of 67 percent over a 3-5 year period.
The ten most troubled organizations at the start of the project reduced their conflict by an average rate of 85 percent after three years.
Over a six-year period, individuals from nine countries reported they reduced their own defensiveness in conflicts by half and were 45 percent more effective at getting interest met in conflicts using the skills in Radical CollaborationParticipants also reported significant gains in their ability to build and maintain climates of trust.
Thirty years ago we coined the terms Red Zone and Green Zone showing between a highly conflicted adversarial culture (Red Zone) and Green Zone (a more collaborative culture) to denote the two ends of the spectrum in all human communicative experiences. In the second edition of the book we added something that we call the Pink Zone. It’s a more conflict-avoidant, passive-aggressive organizational culture that we believe has become the predominant culture within our client base today and probably in the corporate world in general.
We originally used the Red Zone to refer to human behavior that’s fear-based and mostly defensive. It was meant to mark when someone was becoming reactive and acting out a variety of self-protective defensive behaviors. These Red Zone behaviors included both aggressive and passive aggressive mind sets that were self-justifying and often resulted in overly charged responses to the immediate situation. It has become clear that people understood the concept of fear-based defensiveness and almost immediately identified as active or passive but they did not like being lumped together with the opposite alternative reactive behavior. Conflict avoidant, passive aggressive people did not identify with the overt Red Zone behaviors and would describe their own behavior as Green Zone because they could not/would not see themselves as acting out Red Zone Behaviors. They believed anything other than aggression was cooperation. They resisted when we talked about Green Zone as effective behavior because they thought the only alternative to Red Zone behavior was wimpy, passive behavior that they assumed was the Green Zone we were talking about.
During the financial crisis of 2008 it became apparent to many corporations that to survive there was a need for effective collaboration. It became clear that they could not compete externally if they could not first collaborate internally.
Defensiveness arises out of conflict and is a remnant of troubling or traumatic events experienced usually in childhood. Understanding why and how it surfaces allows us to dispel the remnants of these feelings and engage in more productive interactions. Judge Tamm shares The Five Essential Skills to overcome defensiveness.
By understanding Collaborative strategies are not simply another business methodology many companies learned this the hard way when they tried to create teams without first teaching employees the skills necessary for effective teamwork. Many companies have developed all their employees for years to excel at becoming “star” individual collaborators Now with a change of policy they are supposed to think, feel and act like a team where their greatest accomplishment now might be to support someone else’s success. Without collaborative skills a team is just a group of individuals who each follow their own agenda.
TRUE COLLABORATION BEGINS WITHIN THE INDIVIDUAL NOT THE ORGANIZATION.
WE discover that Individuals in the Green Zone convey an authentic, non defensive presence. The Green Zone gives individuals the attitude and a state of mind that allows them to focus their energy on creative problem solving. In an atmosphere free of intrigue, mistrust and betrayal, individuals have greater opportunity to realize their full potential.
THE FIVE ESSENTIAL SKILLS
- Collaborative Intention: Individuals stay in the Green Zone, maintain an authentic, non defensive presence, and make a personal commitment to mutual respect in their relationship
- Openness: Individuals commit to both telling the truth and listening to the truth. They also create a climate of openness that allows all people in the relationship to feel safe enough, to discuss concerns, solve problems, and deal directly with difficult issues.
- Self Accountability: Individuals take responsibility for the circumstances of their lives, the choices they make either through the action or failing to act, and the intended or unforeseen consequences of their actions. They would rather find a solution than find someone to blame.
- Self-awareness and Awareness of Others: Individuals commit to knowing themselves deeply and are willing to explore difficult interpersonal issues. They seek to understand the concerns, intentions and motivations of others, as well as the culture and context of their circumstances.
- Negotiating and Problem Solving: Individuals negotiate conflicts in a way that supports relationships and use problem solving methods that promote a cooperative atmosphere. They avoid fostering subtle or unconscious competition.
The right attitude, telling the truth, self-awareness, being accountable, and skillful problem solving make a difference, regardless of the nationality, culture, size or nature of the organization.
The ability of team members and organizations to handle stress, challenges, failures and changes in environment depends on the self-awareness and self-esteem of the team members and their ability to work compatibly as a team.
Example: At the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly Dave Hause has responsibility for managing alliances with Lilly’s manufacturing partners. Hause reports that when they are training people who work in alliances, they first use difficult case simulations that teams are rarely able to resolve. Then they teach them the Green Zone concepts and attitudes and have them redo the case. The teams usually do much better.
We discuss the signs that you or others are becoming defensive and how to limit the effects. First of all, defensiveness is not about protecting ourselves from other people. People get defensive because they don’t want to experience uncomfortable feelings within themselves. Getting defensive will temporarily block the feelings they don’t want to experience.
Psychologist Gary Chapin calls defensiveness secrets we unknowingly keep from ourselves. For example if Ron or Jim are leading a workshop or giving a speech and we fear we are not doing a competent job that fear can create considerable discomfort, we may unconsciously behave in ways that allow us to avoid dismiss or diminish it. This usually involves blaming someone else.
Remember that defenses are biologically based so defensiveness can be detected from physiological cues typically fight flight or freeze reactions. Defensiveness is so difficult to deal with because defenses operate independently of our conscious thinking processes. They are by nature autonomous cand unconscious.
Individual defenses emerged from each person’s history. They helped people cope with the created certain behaviors to defend themselves from fears of feeling insignificant incompetent unlikeable or helpless. Without defense, coping with childhood and adolescence would have been difficult if not impossible. Some defenses children may have developed. If parents constantly fought, perhaps the way to defend oneself might be to stop listening so well. Maybe you couldn’t block out the fighting so you numbed down your emotions so you wouldn’t feel so much pain. As an adult you may feel less pain, anger and sadness by a limited range of emotion but also experience less joy, love and excitement. Or perhaps you learned to get sick as a defense so you would get attention and not feel ignored. Maybe, you learned to become sarcastic or withdrawn or to be passive aggressive. Some people chose to become confused. Some become withdrawn into silence. When faced with criticism that creates uncomfortable feelings some people tune out as a way of breaking contact rather than staying conscious of their uncomfortable feelings and dealing more directly. It is easy to see how and why defenses are created by difficult childhoods that include alcoholic or abusive parents, multiple divorces, or bullying situations.
But defenses are also learned in perfectly normal, everyday, average non traumatic childhoods. One person may take the situation personally, another child may blow it off and not carry a traumatized feeling down the road. Looking at your own defenses is a necessary step towards overcoming defensiveness.
The first step towards overcoming your defensiveness is to become aware of when you are getting defensive. Defenses are created during events in your history. So we encourage you to engage in some emotional archaeology uncovering your own emotional history.
You can draw a Conflict Line. Focus on issues where you feel the most distressed. Visualize the significant conflicts in your life.
Here is an example of Conflict Lines. Born Age 10 Parent’s Divorce Age 12 Fights in School Age 17 Car Issue Age 22 Roommate Senior year Age 35 Father- In- Law Issue Reflect back on a time in your Conflict Lifeline when you were a child and less able to fend for yourself, a time when you were shamed, laughed at, ridiculed or bullied. Let yourself get a sense in your body as well as your mind.
Re Experience what you are feeling or thinking. Then answer these questions.
What were you feeling emotionally? Were you scared, confused, ashamed, helpless, hopeless, humiliated or full of dread? What was happening in your body? Were you feeling a tight chest, shallow breathing, increased heartbeat, hot or cold, wanting to fight back, or a sense of rubber legs or impending collapse, wanting to run or stiff as in scared stiff? Was your vision or hearing altered in any way?
What were you thinking?
Were you confused, trying to make sense of why this was happening to you or what you did to bring this on, or did you freeze, with no thoughts at all?
What was happening to your energy?
Were you feeling aroused, activated energized or dead zombified numb f
rozen? How long did this change in energy last? Did you get help or fight back or just shut down?
What do you feel now as you look back on the scene?
Have there been similar situations in your life?
Look for repeating patterns or themes/ There are many signs of defensiveness.
- Selective deafness
- Loss of humor
- Taking Offense
- High charge of energy in body
- Wanting to be right (No question about it)
- Flooding with information to prove a point
- Endless explaining Playing victim (poor me)
- Teaching or Preaching
- Withdrawal into silence
- Cynicism Sarcasm
- Making fun of others
- Terminal Uniqueness (I’m so special That doesn’t apply to me)
- It’s just my personality
- Not wanting to negotiate Blaming/shaming others
- Sudden onset of illness or accident
- Suddenly feeling tired or sleepy
- Being too nice
- Selective deafness
- Holding a grudge
- Fast Breathing/heartbeat
- Cold Clammy skin
- Hot sweaty skin
- Jumping to conclusions
- Tight stomach
- Speaking too fast
- Obsessive thinking
Creating A Plan to Combat Defensiveness Here are six steps for defeating defensiveness
- Take responsibility for yourself Acknowledge you are getting defensive
- Slow down—activate your senses outward (reactivate your whole brain)
- Feel your emotions and discover your underlying fear (Name your emotions and fears)
- Confront your negative self-talk (change your inner dialogue to be supportive
- Apply your unique action steps (counteract your specific signs of defensiveness)
- Appreciate, celebrate and start over (Appreciate your progress)
We might ask this question, “Do you build your relationships from the Red Zone, the Pink Zone, or the Green zone?” to further help us understand the zones and where we operate more effectively. If you discover that staying in the Green Zone helps you with the first essential skill, Attitude and Intention, you will begin to focus more on why you become defensive and choose to develop the characteristics of being in the Green Zone more of the time.
A person in the Green Zone:
Takes responsibility for the circumstances of his or her life.
Seeks to respond non defensively.
Is not easily threatened psychologically
Attempts to build mutual success
Seeks solutions rather than blame
Uses persuasion rather than force
Can be firm, but not rigid, about his or her interests
Thinks both short and long term
Is interested in other points of view
Sees conflict as a natural part of the human condition
Talks calmly and directly about difficult issues
Accepts responsibility for the consequences of his or her own actions
Continually seeks deeper levels of understanding Communicates a caring attitude
Seeks excellence rather than victory
Sheryl says This seems like many people who have engaged in spiritual practices, body work and intellectual awareness of the philosophers and leaders in history who have become aware of higher consciousness and sought to find enlightenment. It takes a great deal of time effort and consistency to develop the attitude and skills to be in the zone or as Judge Tamm calls it the Green Zone
A large part of the book deals with techniques for effective collaboration. Judge Tamm tells us about some and which technique will probably be used the most.People are constantly sending signals and everyone looks for signals from others. We are social beings and we pay attention to others for signs relating to our relationships and the intentions of others towards us. As social creatures, we use nonverbal cues such as expressions, gestures, distance, and tones, to manage our interactions with others. These signals impact our core emotions and have profound effects on our mind-set and risk assessment.
This all happens quickly beneath conscious awareness. Researches at MIT have developed portable recording devices that can measure many of these nonverbal signals such as how close you stand to someone else, your tone of voice, your level of energy, percentages of time that you’re speaking versus listening, speech timing and flow, and position of your body in relationship to others. The researchers developed computer algorithms that can predict your persuasiveness based on these nonverbal signals. A lot of research demonstrates that credibility is dramatically reduced when tone of voice, body language and content are out of alignment. These figures are representative of when collaborations are not going well and confrontation is building
The numbers commonly cited regarding the impact of a message in those circumstances are
Content (the words) accounts for only 7 percent
Tone of Voice accounts for 38 percent
Body language accounts for 55 percent
Quiet introspective overworked or overwhelmed people may not be as open as those who are more relaxed, laid back and fearless or courageous and adventuresome or extroverted people.
An example in the book of Jim an executive giving a presentation to newly hired employees professing to be open but he is really is not shows us that If the executive is not an open person himself he also has concerns that the other party being addressed will take a lot of his time with their complaints about his new policies, While he says what is required of him during the speech, his body language may suggest something else and listeners will pick up this sentiment…I need to tell you to be open because that’s what I am supposed to say, but I don’t really want to be that open and I don’t want it from you either. Emotions play such a huge role in our social interactions that we can’t hide them. They leak out in our communications through tone of voice and body language. When they are inconsistent with the words of the message, they play a larger role in communicating the real message. Instead of saying what he was supposed to, this executive might have said the following to his employees, “ I know that creating a more open environment is going to be crucial for our success. I have a few fears of my own about that. I am a very private person so this will be a stretch for me. I’m a little concerned that I’ll get overwhelmed with complaints about all the changes taking place. But I also know that to become successful as we intend, it’s absolutely necessary for us to be able to share our concerns, to tell the truth, and to listen to the truth. So I am asking all of you to stretch a little to become more open with each other just as I make this commitment to you. This message will not be undermined by an inconsistent tone of voice or body language because it is honest.
Judge Tamm might like readers to take away with them after reading Radical Collaboration the Strategies for Building Collaboration.
There are ten strategies for Building Collaboration
Be open and direct about your intent to collaborate
Pay attention to responses
Forgive quickly (Respond positively when others cooperate)
Agree ahead of time on systems for conflict resolution
Conduct regular reviews and actively monitor relationships
Use graduated sanctions
Make a commitment to a higher ethical standard
Use Interest Based Negotiations to resolve any differences or disputes
We thank Judge James W. Tamm, author of Radical Collaboration for sharing practical tools that will increase our ability to collaborate, cooperate and reach solutions to many of the overwhelming problems in business family and personal relationships. As we have discovered, collaboration skills are essential for today’s workplace and have never been more important.
In summarizing today’s episode of “Healing From Within” we have offered an awareness for creating trusting cooperative environments, and transforming groups into motivated and empowered teams, as we increase our ability to work successfully with others, learn to be more aware of colleagues and their unique abilities and liabilities as well, and learn to problem solve and negotiate our way beyond the challenging events in today’s rapidly changing world.
Judge Tamm writes, “Parties are now engaged in the creative part of the process, trying to find solutions that will meet as many interests as possible. They should be tenacious about getting their interests met. However, since there are usually many ways to satisfy any interest, they should be flexible about how they get their interests met. Always look for mutual gains, If you find you have mutual interests, exploit them. If interests aren’t mutual then try to align them so they dovetail. It that isn’t possible, at least try to get your interests met without doing damage to the other side’s interests. The best way to end up with a good solution is to have a large number of options to work on…….To create a compliance-prone solution, you must address the needs of your partners, so give their problems just as much energy as your own. A rich source of ideas for solutions is objective standards such as industry practices, comparability studies and wage surveys. It seems having the tools to make decisions is as important as the environment of cooperation and good will that must be established in order to find fair solutions.”
Judge Tamm and Sheryl would have you realize that for larger groups working with complex issues and strong constituencies, the process may sometimes be lengthy and time consuming, but as always, and in the end, collaboration is found through willing it so, and trusting the plan for success when all parties finally begin to remember there is a way and will for success, if we let go of doubt fear and seek unity.
Sheryl Glick host of Healing From Within and author of the newest book in her trilogy A New Life Awaits, Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening which shares stories and messages from Spirit encouraging collaboration acceptance and surrendering to what’s best for us all ultimately …not very different from Radical Collaboration. Sheryl invites you to visit her website www.sherylglick.com to read about and listen to leaders in the fields of metaphysics science medicine spirituality human development and evolution law education and the arts and music seek ways to refine our thoughts and achieve greater awareness, higher consciousness to improve the quality of our lives personally and collectively, Shows may also be heard on www.webtalkradio.net and www.dreamvisions7radio.com