Blockers & How to Handle them

How we love to label people, it makes them so much easier to understand! We all do it because our brains are designed to use this kind of short-cut to prevent information overload. However, there are dangers in this strategy as peoples’ personality is different from their behaviour. It is the difference between who we are, as opposed to what we do. Unfortunately, in the corporate world, we usually focus on results and actions, which are behaviour based.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) teaches us that all behaviour serves a useful purpose, but that doesn’t mean that is can’t be self-harming too. When people feel threatened, out-of-their-depth, or otherwise stressed, they can easily tend to various forms of blocking behaviour.

Rather than trying to manage the effects, it is more productive to understand, and where possible, remove, the triggers.

"Stress is like an iceberg. We can see one-eighth of it above, but what about what’s below?”

A model developed by Professor Stuart-Kotze suggests that people have one of 3 main orientations:-

Each of these ‘types’ has their own blocking typical response, which behaviour tends to be induced by stress.





Showing Frustration, Annoyance, Pressuring

Avoiding conflict, Compromise

Avoiding responsibility & involvement

The Action oriented tend to feel:-

People oriented managers:-

System oriented people fear:-

Whilst people are unable to change (fundamentally) who they are, they can change what they do, (especially if they can see that it isn’t working!)

What you can do about this? The following list may help.

"People change for two basic reasons: they feel the heat or they see the light"

Remember, it isn’t only other people who exhibit these behaviours… do any of these ‘shadow’ behaviours seem familiar to you?

As leaders we all have very busy calendars, and it is often easy to write off these kind of behaviours / people as “just how they are”, but they have a negative drag on the whole business. Helping people recognise them, and do something about them is a short-term investment of your time with a long-term pay-back. Also, focusing on removing some of the stressors in your environment can have a big pay-off.

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
George Bernard Shaw

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