Tag Archive: working relationships

  1. Don’t expect feedback from internally referenced people


    The feedback black hole

    You’ve just completed a great project, met the deadlines and brought it in on budget. You are feeling good but nobody says a word? As days go by nothing comes back and you start to doubt your success. The internal dialogue ramps up to a point where you become totally focused on whether or not you did indeed complete a successful project. You venture to ask a couple of questions of the people from whom you may have expected some positive feedback but the bemused looks set you back even further so what’s going on?

    What’s happening?

    Unconscious behaviour patterns are playing out here. You may have a high need for recognition and appreciation because your external reference system means you value other peoples opinions, external qualifications etc in order to measure your own success. Internally referenced people, on the other hand, measure their success against their own internal measures. They include the word ‘I’ to a large degree in their conversation and don’t need others to tell them they have done a good job. They will be bemused when externally referenced people ask for feedback and unconsciously view it as ‘needy’.

    No feedback needed, thanks

    Internally referenced people don’t take kindly to feedback because unconsciously they have a high degree of certainty that they are right (they are not always of course!). The unconscious thinking is that ‘if I don’t need feedback then nor does anyone else’. Consequently they don’t give it out and if they do it can sounds contrived and awkward. This type of behaviour can often come across as ‘confidence’ and will invariably help the internally reference person up the promotion ladder. They can also be very hard to give feedback to so here is a tip for you –

    If you want to give feedback to an internally referenced person start with ‘Of course you probably already know this ……..’



    If you would like to know more please get in touch with us 07768 92224 or  pat@quadrant1.com. Sign up to our newsletter

  2. Does your organisation value trust?


    Does your organisation value trust?

    In my work as a leadership facilitator, I often work with organisations who include ‘Trust’ or ‘Trustworthiness’ in their company values.  This is a worthy value indeed and is often described in terms of accountability, responsibility for outcomes, transparency and supportiveness – again all very virtuous.  So why is it that when I ask groups of employees about their company values, they can only just about remember them and find it difficult to describe them in meaningful terms?  Of course, the first reason is sometimes obvious – they have been imposed on them from above and employees have not been given the opportunity to engage with the values and work out what they mean in terms of behaviour.  In which case they remain just words that appear on the walls of the organisation or on the website but not in the hearts of the employees.

    But let’s take a deeper look –         

    In reality, as an employee, you are asking me to trust my fellow employees to complete projects and tasks that are going to keep both internal and external customers happy.  Seems simple enough?  So, what gets in the way? Perhaps a delve into unconscious behavioural preferences might give us some answers.  The following continuums of preference will help us gain some insights.

    Specifics – Big picture

    People who prefer to work in the detail of a project are unlikely to trust the person with a big picture perspective to ‘do the job as well as I can’.  The big picture perception is that ‘this person will never get it done because he/she is so bogged down in the detail so I can’t trust them to get it done within the deadline’.

    Internal Reference – External Reference

    Internally referenced people don’t need others to tell them the way things are going or whether something is going to work – they simply ‘know’.  They are not always right of course but that’s ‘just the way it is’.  Externally referenced people measure their success externally i.e. someone else’s validation or a measure such as a degree, medal or certificate.  Internally referenced people see this as ‘flakey’ as externally referenced people often ask for feedback.  So, trust flies out the window here too.     Externally referenced people can view the internally referenced guy/gal as arrogant and ‘can’t be told’ so is obviously untrustworthy.

    Procedures – Options

    Procedural people get things done by following a procedure which has either been tried before or has been clearly laid out for them.  Options people review different choices and will often rewrite new procedures, much to the annoyance of the procedurals.  Definitely can’t be trusted because they change their minds!  Procedurals on the other hand, from the perspective of the person who prefers choice,  can’t be trusted to get creative and come up with new ideas and innovations!

    Considerers – Doers

    Considerers like to take their time to consider every aspect of a project before setting off.  ‘Oh we’ll never get this off the ground’ shout the doers. ‘If we want it done by the deadline considerers can’t be trusted!’  ‘Woha – hold back’ shout the considerers to the doers.  ‘We need to think this through – if you are just going to take off, we will make mistakes and get it wrong’.  Definitely can’t be trusted.   

    And of course, there are many more unconscious patterns that make us either unconsciously trust or mistrust people.  These are extreme examples but nonetheless common in organisations and at grass roots level are far more dominant than the values passed down from above.  So now we have conflict and are in need of an answer.

    The answer is simple – recognition and acceptance.  Recognising these patterns and valuing them all is paramount to success. Put a detail and global person together and they will come up with an excellent answer. A procedural person will put an options idea into practice and follow it through beautifully.  But trust will only come about through awareness of and capitalisation on, behavioural preference!


    If you would like to know more about behavioural preferences and how they affect our results please call Pat on 07768 92224 or email pat@quadrant1.com


    Pat Hutchinson is the co-author of Brilliant NLP, the Brilliant NLP Workbook and How to be Confident with NLP.  She is also the author of How to Sell with NLP all published by Pearson Education.  She has been working with leaders using NLP for 21 years.  For more information about Pat please see her Linked In profile

    Happy Trusting!



    Lack of balance in our opinions can make it difficult to make decisions or pull a consistent and successful strategy together. It’s crucial that we gather and consider the thoughts, experience and opinions of others to supplement and contribute to our own knowledge and experience.
    If we are too uncertain and inconclusive, we will spend our time going round in circles – we need to be able to put a stake in the ground to progress actions and plans. However, too much certainty in our own opinions can move into dogmatism which can stifle contribution, collaboration and innovation.

    The paradox of OPINIONS – what it can look like when the balance between CERTAIN and OPEN/ REFLECTIVE is off-kilter, and what it can look like when balance is achieved.

    Leaders need to be able to balance these two seemingly opposite traits – one dynamic and one gentle – to achieve optimal behavioural performance and balanced versatility.

    Harrison Paradox Technology is embraced by organizations world-wide as the best means to determine leadership capability and job performance by providing a reliable map of the paradoxical balances that make or break leaders.

    Find out more or contact us at pat@quadrant1.com or on 07768 922244




    As a leader, how do you balance asserting your own needs and wants with helping your team achieve their objectives?

    The paradox of POWER – what it can look like when the balance between ASSERTIVENESS and HELPFULNESS is off-kilter, and what it can look like when balance is achieved.

    Leaders need to be able to balance these two seemingly opposite traits – one dynamic and one gentle – to achieve optimal behavioural performance and balanced versatility.

    Harrison Paradox Technology is embraced by organizations world-wide as the best means to determine leadership capability and job performance by providing a reliable map of the paradoxical balances that make or break leaders.

    Find out more or contact us at pat@quadrant1.com or on 07768 922244

  5. What does effective communication look like?


    Communication is one of the most important skills a successful leader can develop. Effective communication is the tool to inspire, align a team around common goals, build trust and negotiate delicate situations.  How our communication is received will depend on the perception and viewpoint of the person receiving it and is open to interpretation.  The intention and the interpretation can often be miles apart and it is important to remember that it is the interpretation not the intention that triggers action.  If we want that action to be positive and progressive, we must take the utmost care with our communication.

    Ineffective communication can leave teams feeling out of the loop, lacking in confidence and motivation, or even result in a complete breakdown in trust between leader and employee/team. This in turn has a huge impact on productivity and can result in absenteeism, raised levels of sickness and staff churn.  If you happen to work for a visionary company who recognize the importance of effective communication you will have been on the receiving end as well as seen the benefits of training in such skills. A good place to start is by considering the foundations of effective communication.

    The Paradox of Respectful Candour – or Communication

    Harrison Assessments Paradox Theory suggests the idea that every behavioural trait can be a strength or a derailer depending on the circumstances.  Unfortunately, behavioural traits are often unconscious behaviours or habits and we can often fail to notice the consequences of ineffective behaviour.  Balancing seemingly opposite (paradoxical) traits can give us the maximum flexibility and, therefore, effectiveness within each paradox.

    The two paradoxical traits of the Respectful Candour paradox are FRANK and DIPLOMATIC and this is just one of 12 sets of paradoxical traits that give us an overview of our approach to work.

    • FRANK: the tendency to be straightforward, direct, to the point and forthright
    • DIPLOMATIC: the tendency to state things in a tactful manner

    Communication imbalances can cause limitations in communication style

    Flexibility is the name of the game and a high score in both diplomacy and frankness will give us such flexibility. So let’s take a look at the imbalances and the consequences of each.


    What this can look like: The manager who disappears down the corridor at the first hint of a confrontation or spends the day hiding behind a closed office door. Often prefers to communicate by email rather than in person or even on the phone.

    A leader who avoids communication may be unable to communicate with a team effectively on a day to day basis, manage conflicts or to provide clear strategic direction, often leaving the team feeling ‘rudderless’. The team may feel this manager is too busy, or doesn’t care about their input.


    What this can look like: The manager who never gets to the point because they’re worried about hurting someone’s feelings or allows bad behaviour from team members to go unchecked for risk of upsetting them. Avoids being the bearer of bad news and passes the buck onto others: “Head Office said we need to work extra hours to make this deadline”.

    A leader who is evasive tends to be tactful without being sufficiently direct. This can leave the team feeling they are not being given the whole story, or even not being told the truth which isn’t necessarily the case.  There may be gaps in the communication which could be filled with inappropriate actions.


    What this can look like: The manager who steps on others without even realising it. Often prides themself on being ‘honest’, thinks there is nothing wrong with their own style, and does not know when they hurt others’ feelings. Has a tendency to say the wrong thing at wrong time.

    A leader who is blunt may tend to be frank or direct and often use the phrase ‘telling it as it is’ without sufficient tact, often making themself appear rude. Those around may hold back from sharing ideas for fear of being shot down.

    Any and all of the above can lead to problems with performance, disengagement and a poor culture.

    Of course, there will be instances where these extremes are useful – frankness is probably preferable if the building is on fire.  Equally two people with the same frank trait will demonstrate excellent rapport – I have seen whole organizational cultures built on one style of communication as people who feel uncomfortable leave the organization. The question here is ‘what is the organization missing in terms of creativity and ideas?’

    Likewise there will be situations where extreme diplomacy and tact are required –negotiation of any sort or delivering unpleasant news for example.

    Balance brings versatility

    Effective communication encourages innovation, helps with the early identification of problems, creates individual and team engagement with business goals and objectives and creates a culture of openness and trust in the team and the wider organisation. Operating within the fourth pattern encourages and allows for greater versatility for the needs of the situation.


    What this can look like: The manager who maintains a good balance of being to the point while being sensitive to the way in which they communicate with their audience.

    A leader who displays forthright diplomacy tends to be both forthright and diplomatic at the same time, communicating clearly and respectfully with the team to create an open and engaged team culture.

    As previously stated, flexibility is the name of the game – being able to switch styles according to the person on the receiving end and the requirements of the situation.  The first step in developing such versatility is awareness – The Harrison Assessment Paradox report will give you this and the opportunity to practice exercises to develop potentially deficient traits.


    5 tips to help improve communication

    • Keep communicating! Information, thoughts, feedback, ideas should be communicated frequently – ‘nature abhors a vacuum’… don’t leave a gap which can be filled with inaccurate information from other sources. Keep communication open and transparent, remove any barriers and take the time to talk and listen to people.
    • Keep it simple and direct – Make sure communications are clear without hiding behind extraneous information. Take into account how your message will be received by others. Use that diplomacy… Direct does not mean blunt!
    • Listen and encourage contributions – Encourage ideas and solutions from others. Do 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking. Showing interest and respecting colleagues will help make the emotional connection that’s so important for effective leadership.
    • Show empathy and create trust – Walk in the other person’s shoes, see things from other perspectives to avoid being judgmental and biased. Employees want to feel heard and valued.
    • Walk the talk – Integrity is key and judgement is invariably based upon behaviour. Credibility and engagement will emanate from consistent communication and behaviour.


    Paradoxical Leadership Technology

    You can find out more about balancing Paradoxical traits, like FRANK and DIPLOMATIChere,  or you can get in touch at pat@quadrant1.com or on 07768 922244