Leaders Understand Psychology

Feelings play a role in every decision we make. We humans love to think of ourselves as fully logical and rational at our best, but we are wired to have emotions. And I’m glad we are. But, it’s also true that I don’t always make my best decisions when I’m emotionally charged. I can put on the rose-colored glasses and make a hasty big decision when I’m overly optimistic. I can confuse or hurt others by lashing out when I speak too soon or too forcefully in a misunderstanding.

The Group Dynamic leadership and team curriculum accounts for this.

When we discuss obstacles to building relationships, we talk about the role feelings play in our choices, including our choice of words and tone of voice.

When we lead people through discussions of Productive Conflict, whether we are processing the DiSC Productive Conflict assessment results or just exploring the concept, we use a version of Cognitive Behavioral Theory in which we talk about—

  • A triggering event.
  • An automatic thought.
  • Our usual knee-jerk, potentially destructive response (behavior) triggered by the thought.

In these sessions, we work to find the moment between the automatic thought and the resultant behavior. Once that moment is identified, we reframe the thought and redirect the response to a productive behavior.

This article points out the tie-in between Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and the work we do in our Productive Conflict sessions. The father of REBT, Albert Ellis, emphasized the ABC Model, which postulates that our emotions affect our cognitive functioning which then affects our behavior.

A key difference between the Productive Conflict model and the ABC model is the role of beliefs.

The ABC Model:

  • There’s an Activating event. (A)
  • The event interacts with my historical and/or core beliefs which leads to a belief about the situation. (B)
  • This belief then triggers our response (behavior), or consequence. (C)

The ABC model is the shortened version of Ellis’s ABCDE model, which is not unlike the Productive Conflict model. The D and E part of the model are the reframing and redirection of the response toward a healthier one.

D – Disputation – dispute your unhealthy belief and turn it into a rational belief.

E – new Effect – the rational belief results in a more favorable consequence (behavior).

I encourage you to read the article, because it spells this process out well and includes some relatable examples and useful tools.

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

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