Met the most amazing man in 2000, when I was 19 He had three kids! What’s a girl to do?
Get married! Have more kids!
Now I’m a mom - Kids should listen to me
I’m a ScrumMaster – teams should listen to me!
We know when we are thirsty, we know to drink When we are hungry, we know to eat But when we start to feel stress or anxiety, we don’t know what to do
We all have ways that we react to anxiety. These can be classified into two groups: overfunctioners or underfunctioners Overfunctioners move into action when they are stressed – they micromanage and get into “doing.” Under-functioners, get caught up in their feelings and start showing up less, don’t get stuff done and get less competent.
They especially slip back in the face of the over-functioners who are stepping in and vacuuming up all the jobs.
Brown says that leaders should know who they are in the face of anxiety and how they function in that state. When someone is in it they often can’t see it themselves in the moment. You need a couple of people around them who have permission to say if he or she has tipped into over- or under- functioning.
Behavior is the part of the iceberg that you see. The part beneath the water is our internal state. Every behavior is a communication. We forget this and instead of trying to discern the communication behind the behavior, we try to stop it. We are better served by welcoming the behavior so we can coach through it as a teachable moment. Doing so requires empathy – empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. If I see your behavior as a communication, then I seek to understand and share your feelings so that I can help.
Changing the way we react to behavior is the difficult part. We have to change our emotions - what is under the water line. We have to become conscious. All conflict is a result of an internal emotional upset. If we can learn how to become conscious, our response can help others learn how to handle their internal state.
When we are constantly reacting instead of taking deep breaths and becoming conscious, we experience chronic stress which activates our survival/animal brain. We also wire our brains for stress.
Now we are going to talk about the brain science behind becoming conscious Just like you know to eat when you’re hungry Or drink when you’re thirsty You will learn how to become conscious when you start to experience anxiety
Am I safe?
Survival state implies a life or death perception with a physical response. The survival state is fight, flight, or freeze. This world is a dog-eat-dog world.
Tell the PTA story
No one creates a situation to attack someone else unless they themselves do not feel safe
Am I cared for? The answer to this question determines if we will use our energy for processing information in the higher centers of the brain or for self-protection in the lower centers of the brain.
An emotional state relies on the judgment of good and bad, and implies a victim/villain perception toward life and attempts to make others responsible for our upset. We become triggered into the emotional state when we feel the world is not going our way. This state relies on the CD-ROM that was created based on our past. These are mental models that were passed down to us from our early caregivers. Often the contain inaccurate stories from our childhood.
When we are in our emotional state, we generally perceive others as the cause of our upset and seek to blame them for our distress.
PTA story – I blamed them. What was wrong with those people?!
If someone who grew up in a household with stress and crisis, that environment will be comfortable to them. They will try to create an environment like that.
What Can I Learn & Create?
When you experience flow, you are experiencing the power of the executive state. It is a state of relaxed alertness during which you have the capacity to notice your thoughts and emotions, be conscious of your actions and possess the ability to pause and plan a wise response. Instead of physically reacting, or verbally overreacting from an old CD-ROM , the Executive state allows us to pause and plan a wise response. The voice we use to discipline children (if we are caregivers) or to coach employees is THE SAME VOICE as the one we use with ourselves. The voice we choose directs our behavior.
I am able to focus on the reason I joined PTA in the first place –to help my children and be more involved in their school. I am able to recognize that the teachers feel appreciated and the parents know who we are, and that’s what matters.
Instead of asking “What will make this person do X” we ask a new question – “What will help this person be more likely to be successful at X?”
This is your boss. What is he thinking? Let’s discuss possible perceptions and assuming positive intent. Let’s say something is NOT what we want and perception doesn’t change that? Then what? Fight reality or accept! (next slide)
Remember this opportunity is a gift to rewrite your CD-ROM
Talk about the Hulk – who controls the Hulk? Everyone else, until the Hulk learns how to calm himself.
Perception Triggers Composure See the reprogramming of our CD-ROM as a gift
Provide valuable opportunities to connect Implementing caring rituals cultivates compassion Compassion motivates altruistic behavior
Accepting people for who they are Based on noticing or connecting Teaches what helpful looks like, sounds like, and feels like
Being of service activates the higher centers of the brain With every job for every person, each person contributes to the success of the tribe
Empathy teaches emotional regulation and integrates the brain so we can take personal responsibility for their actions Judgement blocks awareness of what we are feeling
Emotional cardio: Pick a person that annoys you. Picture them in your mind. What behavior do they have that annoys you? Now list 3 – 4 needs that person might be trying to satisfy. Pretend you are that person. How does that feel?
Internally motivated choices foster cooperation, enhance decision-making and help teams focus their attention
Recognize a tribe and use healthy models as the blueprint to meet everyone’s needs
Rituals Encouragement Jobs Empathy Choice Tribes
When we feel safe and cared for, then we are ready to move into the CEO area of the brain and start solving problems.
We can Direct our attention in order to set and achieve goals despite distractions Regulate our emotions and inhibit impulsive behavior Hold information in our heads, self-monitor, and reflect Develop empathy and problem solve
We change our intention from controlling our environment to having an intention to teach.
The survival state sees conflict as threatening and bad – it must be punished. Emotional state sees conflict as irritating and upsetting. It must be stopped. The executive state sees conflict as a call for help and a teaching opportunity. It must be solved with new skills.
Our job is to remain calm enough to see the best and help others learn new skills. We do that by assuming positive intent – we are all doing the best we can at any given point in time. All behavior is a communication.
Think back to a time you lashed out at people you cared about – were you trying to make things worse or where you trying to get personal relief from your own emotional distress?
When I’m feeling unsure, undeserving or not good enough, I am short-tempered and critical towards others and myself. At these times I need compassion, not lectures that provoke more guilt. Our coworkers are the same.
Let’s determine intent for each of these teams, assuming negative intent and then assuming positive intent
We can coach others to assume positive intent by modeling it ourselves.
Once we have a team that is assuming positive intent and feels like they are tribe, then we are safe to experience conflict. If there is no conflict, that is a warning sign that people don’t feel safe and are not ready to deal with the tough issues.
Now we have the opportunity to coach through conflict, and when conflict occurs we know how to handle it.
Train Your Brain for a Better Agile Team
Please fill out a name tag
and discuss with your table:
What are you hoping to
learn today? Write it on a
sticky note and put it up on
Think about the last time you experienced
• What was your response?
• Are you an over-functioner or and
• Who are two people that you trust who
can help when you are under stress next
Assess the Internal State
As a group, match up the statements with the brain state.
state. It’s okay if you don’t know – we will go over the
answers at the end!
Tools to Create
Determine your triggers
• You’re just doing this to annoy me.
• You’re deliberately defying me.
• You’re driving me crazy.
• You’re intentionally tuning me out.
• You’re just doing this to spite me, hurt me, etc.
• I can’t stand this one minute longer.
• You’ve gone too far this time.
• You never listen, pay attention, etc.
• You turn everything into a power struggle, nightmare,
• This is just plain manipulation.
• You’re lazy, malicious, stubborn, disrespectful, etc.
• You don’t care about anyone but yourself.
Whomever you have placed in charge of your feelings, you have placed in charge
Combined Tools for Problem-Solving
We change our intention
from controlling our
environment to coaching
An Activity to Determine Intent
• A team does not close a single story as part of
• Code coverage goes down dramatically over the
course of a sprint
• Someone is late to every team meeting
Type Skill Needed Message Response
victimized. “She didn’t
invite me to that
“I feel powerless to
deal with this. Help
“Did you like it?”
Tribe member wants
to get someone in
trouble or uphold
rules. “She is not
getting her code peer
“I’m angry at ___ for
not ___. I don’t know
how to express myself
“Are you telling me to
be helpful or hurtful?”
someone getting hurt.
“He has been really
sad lately and I’m
worried he might hurt
himself or others.”
Trust in authority Safety
“I don’t feel safe.”
“I will take care of it.”
Let’s review the answers from our
Internal State matching game. Do we
have any changes we want to make?
Did we answer all the questions that we had in the