Explanations Are Not Excuses
Understanding why we do something doesn’t excuse negative behavior.
I feel blessed to have access to several really good communication behavior models, each one offers amazingly accurate insights into what’s going on and why we do what we do. I’m sure many of my readers use great models to help their employees and clients as well.
The Process Communication Model® accurately predicts how a person prefers to communicate, how they are motivated, and how they behave in distress while attempting to get their psychological needs met negatively. The process is observable, predictable, sequential and remarkably consistent. An overwhelming majority of people who obtain their PCM profile and go through our courses agree that PCM explains a lot about why they do what they do. In fact, many of them say they can see it happening in real-time just by observing behavior.
This is the most dangerous point in training because it’s so tempting to hide behind this new-found knowledge, and use the model as an excuse for behavior. I’ve actually heard participant say things like;
“I’m a Rebel so you should go easy on me when I’m late.”
“Because I’m a Persister, I can’t support anything that doesn’t align with my values.”
“I’m a Harmonizer so I avoid conflict. Please don’t make me talk to angry clients.”
Have you heard your clients or employees use new awareness as an excuse for their behavior?
Have you struggled to balance compassion with accountability in these situations?
These excuses reveal a fundamental challenge that comes with self-awareness.
Knowing why you do what you do doesn’t excuse your behavior.
This is also where most training models and programs fall short – not holding people accountable for their behavior.
Knowledge should increase response-ability, not enable excuses.
Compassionate Accountability® balances valuing the human for their unique style and contribution, while also holding them accountable for self-care and self-management within community.
We experience the same dynamic in our Leading Out of Drama program, an alternative to conflict management training. Our Drama Resilience Assessment identifies a person’s tendencies for drama, especially when conflict is present. In fact, one participant said, “There’s nowhere to hide.”
But if we stopped there, it would be just like any other conflict styles training. Learning about my “style” doesn’t excuse the drama.
That’s why it doesn’t stop there. Our model also includes the Compassion Cycle, a behavioral skills framework for making different choices and practicing compassionate accountability during conflict. Knowing your tendencies or style is step one. Developing the skills to engage differently is the ultimate goal.
Personality is not an entitlement program.
Styles are not get out jail free cards.
We are all OK, even while our behaviors might be hurting ourselves and our team.
Ultimately, we are all valuable, capable, and responsible.
Self-awareness should lead to self-management, which enables higher levels of compassionate accountability.
Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2021
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