Behavior Mode Alternatives

Summary: “When you realize you are in an unproductive behavior mode, switch to its productive alternative.” 

A behavior mode is a person’s state of mind and the predictable behavior associated with that state of mind. For purposes of learning, let’s assume there are three main behavior mode pairings or alternatives: curious/critical, autonomous/victim, coach/rescuer. These three pairings should cover most of the situations you will likely encounter in life. By the way, there is no magic to my behavior mode labels; I just made them up to lend some structure to this idea so you can easily recognize and practice switching from unproductive to productive modes.

As an example, people in the critical behavior mode are often controlling, intimidating, and employ the use of negative words, voice tone and body language. If you are in this mode and unaware that this is how people perceive you, or you are aware and choose to stay in this mode anyhow, the interaction will likely only lead to frustration or failure. Therefore, it’s a good idea to work toward getting better at being fully aware of your behavior mode as you are interacting with others. When you realize you are in an unproductive mode, practice purposely switching to the more productive alternative to produce better outcomes. For example, switch from the critical to the curious mode, the victim to the autonomous mode, or the rescuer to the coach mode.

Of course, you can improve your interactions and relationships with others by spending most of your time in the three most productive behavior modes in the first place: the curious, autonomous and coach modes.

Just to get a feel for how others might experience you at times, imagine what it is like to be on the receiving end of the unproductive behavior modes: the critical, victim and rescuer modes. Hopefully, these are common-sense labels and you can easily understand the various modes of behavior. If it will help, see the separate postings on each of these pairs of alternative behavior modes: curious/critical, autonomous/victim, and coach/rescuer for additional explanation.

Practice observing others and pay close attention to the long-term results of their chosen behavior modes. Some people seem to be locked-in to certain modes and operate in them most of the time, especially the critical and victim modes. More importantly, become an astute observer of your own behavior modes. Staying in the more productive modes is a good way to joyfully participate in life.

Learn to recognize the six modes; choose your mode wisely.

Joyfully participate in life today…Chris

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