Many years ago I had the good fortune to be an undergraduate teaching assistant in interpersonal communication. We taught a tool that is as relevant and useful today as it was back then. It is called “The Confrontive Script.”
This structure can be quite useful for a Challenger to confront another person in a way that is constructive and maintains a Creator-to-Creator relationship. It follows a “fill in the blank” format:
- When you (describe their behavior),
- I feel (describe how you feel when they engage in the behavior).
- As a result, I (describe and “own” your reaction).
- What I would prefer is (offer an alternative acceptable behavior for them to engage in).
- If things don’t change, I am likely to (state a reasonable and natural consequence).
- This is important to me because (make a statement as to why the situation or relationship is important).
An example might be:
“When you interrupt me in meetings, I feel devalued and shut down. As a result, I either withdraw or react with some anger. What I would prefer is for you to let me finish a thought and perhaps give me a hand signal that you have something to say. If not, I am likely to not contribute much. This is important to me because I want us all to fully and constructively participate in meetings.”
A key to the successful use of this technique is to not blame or to attach a motive to the behavior that you find unacceptable – merely to describe it and to own your own reaction(s). Stay in the space of a Creator and Challenger. The final decision to adopt or adapt the alternative behavior is theirs to make (remember, they are a Creator too – whether they know it or not or act like it or not!).
(“TED* Thoughts” is published three times a week [at least most of the time]. It is intended to offer reflections and applications of The Power of TED* in order help facilitate a shift in worldview and relationship dynamics from the Drama Triangle [or the Dreaded Drama Triangle] to The Empowerment Dynamic [TED*]. Please help spread TED* by sharing this “TED* Thoughts” and by contributing your own thoughts by posting a comment. To the Creator in you!)