Default reactions

The Hogan personality assessment (one of the better ones out there) has eleven traits grouped into three defaults reaction to conflict –

  1. Moving away: Avoid true connection with others; pulling away; seems indifferent; described by others as independent, aloof, and / or detached.
  2. Moving against: Deals with self-doubt by behaving in dominant, intimidating ways; try to build self up and make themselves feel better than others; described by others as overly assertive, argumentative, stubborn, and willing to challenge others; always seem to have “boxing gloves on”; motto seems to be “strike before being struck”.
  3. Moving toward:  Tend to respond to stress by seeking acceptance of others; intense desire to feel well-liked, accepted, involved, and appreciated.

The Hogan thesis is that every one of us tends to have a dominant default reaction amongst the three. Each of these default reactions is thanks to our greatest strengths as well as their corresponding weakness. And, it is in our interest to understand, build awareness and take action so we don’t fall prey to the dark side of these forces. For the psychology geeks out there, the three reactions map nicely with the fight, flight and freeze responses.

My default reaction is moving against. This natural reaction means I’m good in tough situations since it calls for energetic responses. However, it also comes with a propensity to over react to the smallest of stimuli. Not everything is a crisis after all.

One of the ideas I’m meditating on (/thinking about) is – how can I do better with my default reactions?

The best antidote I’ve identified to this default reaction is to keep a sense of humor. This is not something I naturally bring to the table. But, it is one I have endeavored to keep more of over the past two years. There is hope yet.

The steps to make this sort of a change are the same as in any other. I first need to clearly see the problem. Then, I need to commit to solving it. This is followed by  testing various solutions. The process of testing brings increased awareness and points to the one solution that will actually work. And, then, finally, I can change. These changes projects tend to be multi year construction projects.

And, as I move into 2018, I’m hoping to make significant progress on this one.