Managing Defensiveness at Work

Defensiveness is self-preservation around insecurity. It’s a vulnerability issue. (A primal response to a perceived threat).

I worked with a consultant who would say, “First the hugs, then the kicks.”

To help lower our defenses, he would follow up with something like: “You are strong in these areas and my opinion is that you could be stronger in these areas... This is what I think you could do to be stronger.”

We never loved the critiques and we would still sometimes become a little defensive, but we knew he cared and was on our side.

We trusted him. His honesty, language, and priming always took some of the stings out of it.

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