Dog tilting it's head with question marks around it

Working in the space of collaborative contracting and high performance I have generally noticed that there are three core groups of behaviours that you find in a team environment or when contracting with an organisation.  I have defined them as constructive, productive or destructive.

Destructive people or organisations are motivated by high levels of insecurity and fear and are driven by self-preservation.  They reflect this through high avoidance, impacting on others by draining their energy and holding them back. They have a high need for control which micro manages others and restricts their performance, are highly oppositional which is about cutting people down rather than building them up, and they are highly dependent which is about expecting others to carry the weight of responsibility.  People in the destructive space play the victim, blame others and make excuses.   In my experience people in this space are very fixed and without strong commitment is it is very hard to shift the behaviour as there are deep seeded insecurities driving them.

Productive people are generally motivated to get things done or work co-operatively with others however they don’t fully value their talents and abilities.  Whilst they are productive, they are not being the best they can be.  These people are solid employees who are either good at getting a result or good at building a co-operative environment at work.  The gap for productive people is that they often don’t channel their energy in the right places and they often have a high personal cost in terms of what they personally sacrifice get things done or fit in.  They are trying to do the right thing but have not yet aligned their personal aspirations with where they channel their energy.  They reflect this in their behaviour through high perfectionism, a need for external validation, needing to fit in, or needing to keep others happy.  From my experience with commitment, a good mentor, the right environment and the right personal development, people in this space can make great strides into the constructive space.

Constructive people are generally motivated by living a life of passion, purpose and integrity.  They value themselves, are grateful for what they have in their life, they value their time, and they value their existence.  They believe they can make a difference and have an impact even if at a local and individual level.  They make decisions because it is the right thing and not based on self-interest.  They value relationships but at the same-time have an inner strength that ensures they do not allow others to use them, treat them dis-respectfully, or be abused.  They stand up for themselves and for others, but at the same-time have high levels of empathy and compassion.  Whilst compassionate for those who have a genuine disadvantage, they have low tolerance for people in the destructive space as they recognise the negative impact people in this space have on others.  They are strong but kind.  They challenge others, not to find faults but because they want to help others to realise their potential.  They are committed to what they do and do it with purpose.

The learning here is that if you are in the destructive space then try to think less about how you are the victim, and try to look at the impact you have on the people around you.  Dependence and avoidance is just as damaging as those who are oppositional or controlling.  Take responsibility and recognise that you have a choice.

If you are in the productive phase then let go of what is holding you back and let yourself pursue those things that you have always wanted to do.  Being self-actualised requires work, commitment, and daily effort, but you can do it and you are worth it.

For those in the constructive space, it is your role to ensure that those in the destructive space don’t dominate the team and drag the team down.  Ensure destructive people understand there will be consequences for poor behaviour that brings the team down.  At the same, time coach and mentor those in the productive space and show them the opportunity to play in the constructive space.  Support them, nurture them and teach them, but challenge them to grow.