“I want to talk to you”: The guidance of “carrying a gun with a stick” is not effective. When you feel threatened, your brain will enter a blocked state

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Instructions for clamping guns and rods did not work

When you feel threatened, your brain goes into a closed state, but it’s not really closed. You can still be sensitive to the surrounding conditions, such as the clothes you wear, where you sit, and your habitual body movements when you are nervous, but Any meaningful learning would come to a complete halt.

Stressful feedback conversations reduce cognitive performance in two ways. First, on a neurochemical level, the respondent’s cortisol floods and impairs his memory. When people are in stressful situations, they tend not to recall details that they normally can easily recall. Not only can’t remember what happened in the last month, but you may not even remember what happened yesterday. Having to describe an event from beginning to end under pressure can make it especially easy to forget important details.

You may have seen that this situation can make it harder to give back to the conversation. Have you ever met someone who has been insisting that “it’s not like that”? Imagine that you are going to a meeting and you overhear Sophia (who is white) saying to your administrative assistant (who is black), “You have a great articulation.” You don’t know the premise of their conversation and you don’t know Sophia Refers to something, but you are well aware that your administrative assistant may see this as a microaggression, that is, an unintentional display of racism, thinking that black people are not as smart or as articulate as white people kindness.

You tell yourself in your head that this needs to be dealt with. You weren’t free that afternoon, and the next day you called Sophia in for a private talk. When you describe what you heard and why you were concerned, Sophia categorically denies it, claiming she didn’t say that. It’s possible that you misheard, but it’s also possible that Sophia felt threatened by what you said (she might be thinking “I’m not racist”) and her otherwise good memory suddenly went haywire. You think she must remember, because it happened yesterday, and Sofia is very bright, so you assume she is deliberately denying it.

But in fact, under that kind of pressure, Sophia may not really remember, as if the memory was temporarily erased due to the pressure. So, you do need some communication strategies to reduce the threat and pressure of the conversation so that Sophia can accept your guidance.

Before we discuss what coaching strategies you can use, it’s important to know that stressful situations can impair another mental capacity, what psychologists call “cognitive flexibility.” Cognitive resilience refers to the ability to switch back and forth between different concepts.

If I am analyzing solutions to a problem, when my cognitive flexibility is high, I will quickly compare the possible outcomes of different solutions, and even come up with another solution in the process. But when my cognitive resilience was low, despite my ability to think deeply about the first solution, I couldn’t when trying to switch to another. I tried to switch my mind, but I kept spinning on the first solution.

When stress leads to excessive cortisol concentrations, cognitive resilience suffers. Some people may be able to clearly explain how he wants to solve a certain problem when he is anxious, but if he is asked to change his mind and discuss another solution, they will be very resistant, just like a bulldog who bites the bone and never gives up easily . Psychologists have found that people, especially men, lose cognitive resilience when their cortisol concentrations spike. Women also experience a massive increase in cortisol levels (as high as men) when they are under stress, but women are more likely to switch minds based on certain factors.

You may have found that female subordinates are more receptive to suggestions and more open to new ways to solve problems than male subordinates (of course, there may be other gender issues involved, but cognitive resilience is a fairly established but lesser known factor ).

When conducting a conversation, you don’t want the other person to be in a state of low cognitive resilience. Let’s say Rick is late on the project, he’s behind schedule, and the rest of the team is waiting for his work. You want to review time management with Rick, but when you offer some suggestions to simplify the way you work, he declines. No matter what kind of suggestion you make, he will say “I don’t think that will work”, but he can’t give any convincing reasons. He then insisted that as long as other people stopped bothering him, and if he had a new computer, what he was doing would work.

Is he just making excuses? Maybe, but if your feedback makes him feel threatened, he’ll be less cognitively resilient and more receptive to trying new solutions. If you want him to think outside the box, try to make him less threatening.



Use the SCARF model to reduce the threat of feedback

A useful model for reducing the perceived threat of the other person in a coaching conversation is that of David Schwartz of the NeuroLeadership Institute. The SCARF model developed by David Rock and his colleagues covers five aspects:

  • Status: A sense of one’s importance compared to one’s peers.
  • Certainty: The degree to which the future is known.
  • Autonomy: A sense of control over the present and the future.
  • Relatedness: Do you feel safe when you connect and get along with others, that is, whether you feel that your colleagues regard you as a friend or an enemy.
  • Fairness: Feeling treated fairly and without favoritism when interacting with others.

The basic concept behind the SCARF model is that we feel threatened when any of these five dimensions are challenged or weakened, and rewarded when any of these dimensions are enhanced.

This model can help you roughly predict how threatening your spoken message might be. Suppose Rick is late on a project and you say to him, “You’re the only one on the team behind schedule, and I hear you left early a few days last week. I don’t know what to say, but we might need to hand over your work to Let someone else do it.”

This statement creates a very high sense of threat, because you hit Rick from the above five aspects: damage his sense of status (he is the only one on the team), certainty (will he continue to work on this project?) , autonomy (he can’t decide whether he has a chance to solve the problem), co-worker relationship (who is behind his back?), fairness (he only left early one day last week, at least give him a chance to explain why?). If you take this approach, don’t expect Rick to listen to any of your advice,

He will be fully armed and will defend you in every possible way.

Let’s try to fix this dialogue. Can you in turn improve his sense of status? Perhaps you could say, “I just looked at the numbers for this season, and you’re at the top of the list for the number of clients, and I wish everyone could see you.” This will make the other person feel superior to their peers, and their sense of status will follow. Promoted.

Next, cut into the things you care about and the consequences that have been caused. “But I’m a little concerned that you’ve spent a lot of time acquiring so many clients that you’ve lost sight of others. I noticed that you’re behind schedule on the part you’re working on on Project X, and I need you to meet the deadline, otherwise the rest of the team jobs will be affected.”

What you have to do now is not to weaken his autonomy, but to let him understand his own situation to enhance his autonomy. “I hope you can help me understand the reality of the situation. How do you feel about not meeting the deadline last week?” When you set a new deadline, also give the other person some autonomy and control. “You have until this Thursday to finish the job. What assistance do you need? Or do you want me to hand this job over to someone else?”

The SCARF model can open you up to new ways of dealing with difficult feedback. For example, Maya is the media and public relations director of a large charitable foundation. In her team, there is a senior employee, Peter. This is now a problem. He took over two of the most high-profile projects in the Foundation, both of which required outstanding results. Several members of the leadership team approached Maya privately and said to her, “Do you want someone better to take charge?”

Maya wanted to give Peter another chance, so she called him in and said, “You need to improve your performance at work.” She was ready to teach him how to improve performance, but she heard Peter say, “But leading a team Tell me they’re happy with my performance.” Maya gritted her teeth secretly. The two-handed strategy of the leadership team made it harder for her. “They may praise you to your face, but they’re really worried about your ability to do the job. Let’s talk about how to improve your performance,” she said.

During this conversation, Peter had an opportunity to improve his performance and keep his job, but he was hurt by the mixed positions in the supervisor’s remarks. He became extremely anxious and unhappy. His respect for the leadership team was gone and he didn’t know who to trust. Prior to this conversation, the leadership team had been telling Peter that he was doing a great job. And Maya also felt very frustrated. After thinking about it carefully, she felt that she should not speak out the opinions of the leadership team, causing Peter’s morale to collapse, but what should she do to boost his work motivation?

Referring to the SCARF model, she could say to Peter, “Actually, they’re not as happy with your performance as they say they are. I’m a little concerned about that, too.” Then, try to improve one of the five dimensions or more. Because Peter no longer knows who to trust, Maya can start by improving her working relationship.

“They are out of goodwill and want to express their support for you, but maybe you should think of them as friends who don’t want to conflict with you. They don’t consider your career development, but I care about your future development, I I’m on your side. I know you’re going to make it. I value our relationship and I want you to do as well as you have in the past. I know you feel the same way. Trust me, I’m telling you It’s all true. Let’s think about it together and see how you can improve your work performance.”

Maya showed him a way, made him aware of where he was, but didn’t see Maya or the leadership team as an enemy. He trusted Maya even more, thinking she would give him advice and support. Additionally, Maya can emphasize her good intentions so that Peter can focus more on her good intentions rather than the two-handed tactics of leading the team.


book introduction

This article is excerpted from “I Want to Talk to You: 6 Communication Strategies That You Can Use Throughout Your Life”, published by Commonwealth Magazine

Author: Teresa. Houston
Translator: Liao Jianrong

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Why do some people give advice, but the other party is willing to listen and become more motivated? You are so polite, but he still can’t listen, and is often stopped and rejected. Even employees with excellent performance will become unwilling to go to work because of your words? Microsoft, Amazon and other high-performance team communication coaches have accumulated more than 30 years of practical experience, combined with dozens of classic behavioral psychological experiments, and tell you 6 universal dialogue strategies.

★Want to develop a team, kids or yourself with a growth mindset? This book can help you!

★Comprehensive reading for business executives, human resources, teachers, parents, physicians, consultants, business, real estate agents, science colleges, customer service, and interviews

How to use simple sentences to point out the key points and achieve the effect? How to make criticism and advice seem like praise? How to make up for the lack of perspective and see a person’s emotions from the details? This book provides the most practical cases to help you have the most difficult conversations.

Giving compliments, giving opinions, and commenting are very important ways of getting along between supervisors and subordinates. If the feedback technique is used well, it will not only help others, but also help yourself, but if the feedback is ineffective, it is tantamount to burning the company’s money! Although many people are promoted to supervisors, they are very afraid of being questioned by the top and giving opinions to their subordinates. There are also many people who need to exert influence every day, but do not have a set of effective communication methods?

Houston, who not only teaches business people, but is also a university professor and designated communication coach for government officials, in this book, proposes a set of smart feedback methods including 6 communication strategies to help you establish three views that will be useful throughout your life: grow your mind, be brave to negotiate, The courage to be questioned does not need to be strict, know-it-all, or eloquent, as long as you master the 6 universal dialogue strategies, there will be nothing difficult to talk about.


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