Which behaviours do I temporarily abandon when I’m under stress?

Mark Green posed this question as part of his article 5 Steps to Achieve Lasting Change More Quickly with Less Effort (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-steps-achieve-lasting-change-more-quickly-less-effort-mark-green/) .  Green’s article discussed Gina Mollicone-Long’s five steps change process:

  1. Comfort zone
  2. Desire
  3. Breakthrough
  4. Dominant Habit
  5. ACME (Peak Performance)

This particular question was posed under Stage 4: Dominant Habit where we were invited to consider how we revert to old dominant habits and behaviour patterns when under stress.

Previously, I had undergone many types of personality tests from Belbin to Myers-Briggs, and the Westminster Course about understanding “my type”.  It was during a psychometric test at my former employer where we were asked to read a couple of pages of text, then undertake a scored assessment.  Or results were then plotted on various scales.  I came quite high up on the Perfectionist scale.  We then undertook a series of role plays (probably why I hate them so much now) designed to get us wound up and frustrated, before being repeating the questionnaire and plotting our new scores.  I was off the chart Perfectionist at this point.  I recall the leader remarking “I bet you’ve found all three spelling errors in that booklet haven’t you”?  He was rather taken aback when I said I’d actually found five and pointed out that we were in the UK and therefore the document should have been written in UK English not American.

When considering what behaviours I abandon when I’m stressed, it was also worth thinking about those that I positively adopt when I’m under stress.

I have noticed the most important thing I abandoned was probably politeness.  If I was under stress to get something done and someone else was holding that up, I could became quite short tempered with others and less tolerant of having to wait for things.  Then the Perfectionist kicked in and when I did get someone else’s input I found fault in it and wondered why I didn’t just do it myself in the first place.

I am fully aware that I’m not perfect and I don’t get things right every time and no doubt someone else is having those exact same thoughts about me and my work.  Being aware of what I can be like is part way to trying not to be like that. When I feel myself getting stressed out about things, I try to take myself away from it for a while and focus on something else.  I try to hold on to the question “what’s it like to be on the receiving end of me”, a reflective question learned throughout my Masters course on Senior Healthcare Leadership.

I consider this question on my journey home from work every day, and when I’m dealing with others outside of work.  What was it like to be on the receiving end of me today?  How did what I do impact or influence others?


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