Mapping of defense mechanisms

Last Updated on March 15, 2022 by Growth Hackers Sthlm

This article contains an exercise that aims to map defense behaviors. An openness about the emotions that underlie defense mechanisms can hopefully make the team’s cooperation even more effective

Why is it important?

We sometimes end up in situations where we do not really feel safe. In such situations, our defense mechanisms often peek in. Sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. Unfortunately, some of these behaviors are detrimental to teamwork. Defense mechanisms take on a multitude of expressions. But being able to remain non-defensive is one of the most important things you can do to increase efficiency when you want to turn conflicts into cooperation.

The exercise:

Suitable for: Newly started or established teams
Time required: 1 hour
Type: Individual exercise or in a team

What are your favorite defenses?

Your task is to write down all your conscious defense mechanisms. If you do not come up with something out of the ordinary, then they have to re-think their position.

Do you want the right to any price? Do you throw out information to prove yourself? Do you just keep quiet? Do you take everything personally? Do you get a high heart rate? Do you get cold sweats? Do you draw quick conclusions? Are you getting aggressive? Are you sad?

Reflection individually or in the team

When you have written down your defenses, call in the three most common and based on them, you should now try to answer these questions:

  • What could be the underlying feelings for the defense? What do you think is the reason why emotions arise?
  • In what way do you think the defense relieves your emotions? Are there situations where the defense really helped? 
  • Can you formulate actions that will help you get out of that situation when you end up there?

To make this a team exercise, you can share your answers to the questions with a focus on how your team can help you before or when you end up in defense mode.

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