You've seen it happen far too many times. A junior developer questions an architect and gets rudely dismissed. A developer storms off to the breakroom after a bad interaction with the tester. Or perhaps you've felt your own stress rising as you hear your team misrepresented in leadership meetings. Like it or not, our human emotions are a major factor in team success, no matter what technical skills we possess.
The Truth CheckIs the information being presented to me demonstrably true? Is this being accurately communicated?
The Relationship CheckHow do I feel about the person talking to me right now? How have they treated me in the past?
The Identity CheckWhat is this saying about me? How does this information make me feel about myself?
- Introduce the Venus Flytrap analogy, making sure people understand our reactions are part of being human, and not something to be judged on their face.
- Walk through an explanation of the three general types of mental checks, giving examples of when you have demonstrated those responses or observed them in others.
- Open up some reflection space for the team
- Once people have had ample time to reflect, ask for some volunteers to speak on which check is strongest for them. Using open-ended questions, try to draw out at least one example to talk through together.
- Close with re-iterating the human reality of our responses, and the need for cooperation and patience as the team learns to work together.