Trust on Purpose

How does unconscious “armoring” impact trust at work?

March 24, 2024
How does unconscious “armoring” impact trust at work?
Trust on Purpose
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Trust on Purpose
How does unconscious “armoring” impact trust at work?
Mar 24, 2024

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In the newest episode of their Trust on Purpose podcast, hosts Charles Feltman and Ila Edgar are joined by Michelle Brody - clinical psychologist, executive coach, and author of Own Your Armor - Revolutionary Change for Workplace Culture. Michelle offers insightful guidance on navigating workplace dynamics and delves into the intricate nature of conflict within teams. Drawing from her extensive experience, Michelle explains how understanding and owning one's armor - the behaviors we adopt to protect ourselves in response to perceived threats - can transform a team's culture. Tune in to explore how recognizing and managing armor can lead to more authentic and productive relationships in the workplace.


We want to thank the team that continues to support us in producing, editing and sharing our work. Jonah Smith for the heartfelt intro music you hear at the beginning of each podcast. We LOVE it. Hillary Rideout for writing descriptions, designing covers and helping us share our work on social media. Chad Penner for his superpower editing work to take our recordings from bumpy and glitchy to smooth and easy to listen to episodes for you to enjoy. From our hearts, we are so thankful for this team and the support they provide us.

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Send us a message - we'd love to hear from you

In the newest episode of their Trust on Purpose podcast, hosts Charles Feltman and Ila Edgar are joined by Michelle Brody - clinical psychologist, executive coach, and author of Own Your Armor - Revolutionary Change for Workplace Culture. Michelle offers insightful guidance on navigating workplace dynamics and delves into the intricate nature of conflict within teams. Drawing from her extensive experience, Michelle explains how understanding and owning one's armor - the behaviors we adopt to protect ourselves in response to perceived threats - can transform a team's culture. Tune in to explore how recognizing and managing armor can lead to more authentic and productive relationships in the workplace.


We want to thank the team that continues to support us in producing, editing and sharing our work. Jonah Smith for the heartfelt intro music you hear at the beginning of each podcast. We LOVE it. Hillary Rideout for writing descriptions, designing covers and helping us share our work on social media. Chad Penner for his superpower editing work to take our recordings from bumpy and glitchy to smooth and easy to listen to episodes for you to enjoy. From our hearts, we are so thankful for this team and the support they provide us.

Speaker 1:

Hi my name is Charles Feldman and my name is Ela Edgar, and we're here for another amazing episode of Trust on Purpose. I'm quite excited today, and I will say that it's because of who's here, not because of the coffee I've had today. Michelle Brody is here to talk to us and, charles, do you want to give us a little introduction? Who is this lovely human, michelle?

Speaker 2:

Yes, I'd be happy to introduce Michelle. I've actually known Michelle for gosh close to 20 years. She's an amazing human being. She is a clinical psychologist and an executive coach. She's been doing this kind of work for 25 years, in both corporate and family settings. Basically, she works on the challenging problem of what she calls Interactional Conflict, which, of course, is something that Ela and I are both very aware that where there's conflict, trust or distrust is often present as well.

Speaker 2:

So Michelle's worked with teams at global companies like Metta, read, facebook, siemens, alcoa, as well as startups and smaller companies. She also has served as a master trader of psychologists and executive coaches and human resource and corporate learning professionals. So she's covered the gamut. She's done a lot and we're really excited to be talking with her today, in part because, well, let me just say also that she's written two books Stop the Fight, an Illustrated Guide for Couples, and Own your Armor Revolutionary Change for Workplace Culture. And that's kind of the book where we're focusing today because, as you listeners know, our focus is trust on purpose, primarily in the workplace. Welcome, michelle, it's just great to be talking with you today.

Speaker 3:

Thank you so much to both of you.

Speaker 1:

Are you kicking? No, I'll kick off. I have the question that's like burning in my head. So, michelle, I have read your book and I was really curious about where this book came from. Why was this something that was so important for you to write about and share with the world?

Speaker 3:

So Own your Armor is a book about what happens.

Speaker 3:

How do you try to solve the difficult dynamics at work and I think so many of us deal with that in our workplaces where there's something that's kind of under the table, complicated amongst the people, it interferes with the work and it's the kind of thing that you bring in an executive coach to try to help you with. So I'm often that coach that's brought in to help unknot whatever not is happening between the people who are trying to work together. I do what most coaches in that situation would do is you talk to each person on the team. You get a sense of what's going on and then you help them change. And I find that the most important thing to try to change the culture is a mindset change. That has to happen first and it's like a change about how do we understand what's happening on this team. Most people, when you ask them what's happening on this team, will point out the difficult people. Well, we've got this difficult leader, we've got this difficult person on the team, we've got this difficult, difficult, difficult and we're under a lot of pressure and it's not working. And I want to change their mindset from there are difficult people here to there's some kind of complicated dynamic here that we are all somehow managing to enact together. And so if you just say that to people, they're like, okay, no, I don't think so. I think it's actually there are some difficult people on the team. Yeah, yeah, and I can point down who those are Point, point, point, you, you, you, you and you, yeah.

Speaker 3:

But if you take some time to help people understand, like, what's really going on in team dynamics, typically it's usually some kind of complicated interaction between threats and armor. That's a long thesis to explain to people. And so the idea for the book is like how can I make it super simple? Show you a bunch of pictures, give you a couple of simple ideas that explain how do team dynamics work, and after you read the book you kind of say, yeah, there's more to this picture. And then we're a little bit more ready to do a team intervention that can actually change the dynamics and that mindset shift from pointing out the difficult people to thinking about ooh, there's dynamics here and what are they and how am I involved and how are other people involved and what's going on here? That takes some time.

Speaker 3:

The book was an effort to in like a graphic novel kind of way, make that quick. Like here is a different way to think about teams and if you think about teams in this different way, you can actually solve some of those dynamics which are very hard to solve. I call it the last frontier of teamwork because, like, you call in a team coach and they'll help you, like, talk about the mission and the line on your goals and talk about your processes and make sure everything on the surface is running smoothly. But if you do that in a team that has terrible dynamics that are kind of running rampant under the table, you aren't going to change anything. So I think of this as if you really need to change that. If your team is the kind of team that needs that type of fix, then this is a book to think about that more complicated thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I love that. That's what your book does and it does it in a beautiful way. I mean, you've got these illustrations for visual learners like me that really make clear in a visual way what's going on. And you just mentioned sort of the complicated dynamics that are under the table, which is so often kind of the problem is that nobody can see it's all going on under the table and very little is actually up on the table. But I want to ask you, before we even kind of dive into any more of that, to talk a little bit about what you mean by armor and putting on the armor and taking off or owning one's armor.

Speaker 3:

Sure. At first I say what's going on under the table is a lot of dawning of armor. What causes bad dynamics, and it's a combination of threats that people are responding to and the armor that they put on. So if I'll experience my workplace as threatening to my success for example, I have a boss who's very difficult and, as a result, I can't be successful that's a threat that I experienced and, in response, normal people will put on some kind of armor to protect themselves from a threat.

Speaker 3:

If I have a colleague who's super competitive, I'm going to stand up for myself. I'm not going to just let them walk on me. If I have a report who's not completing their work and therefore endangering my success, I'm going to perhaps talk to them about, give them lots of feedback, try to help them improve so that the threat to me is lessened. So we spend a lot of time at work responding to threats and protecting ourselves, and that self-protection is what I call your armor. And the reason why the metaphor of armor is helpful is that it's clothing, it can be taken off and it makes the distinction between the not so optimal behaviors we engage in as being something we could actually change, as opposed to being elemental parts of our personality. So armor is your natural self-protection that you put on in response to threats in the environment, and the unfortunate thing is that when you put on armor, it sometimes has impact on others.

Speaker 2:

I like that you make it clear that the armor that we put on actually is particular behaviors that we enact to protect ourselves. We do that usually quite unconsciously, where it's not like, oh, I'm going to do X now to protect myself, but rather I do it because that's a strategy that I've learned over maybe my entire lifetime to protect myself. So I'm enacting a particular armor behavior and, as you said, the armor behavior is the other person or other people see that particular behavior and they in turn experience that as a threat to them. I think this is what you're saying. Yes, yes.

Speaker 2:

So they start putting on their own armor and so we spiral down in this whole process and trust goes right on down the drain with all of that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, exactly, I mean. The point you're making, charles, that I think is so essential is that people often don't think of what's going on in the workplace as circular. It seems like it's maybe a linear thing. There's me, nice, normal person over here, and then evil person over there or difficult person over there, and that person's having bad impact on me, and there you see the line difficult person over there hurting me, end of story. But typically there's a cycle happening where a difficult person over there perceives me as being difficult in some way and so we are each other's difficult person and then we protect ourselves from that other person and inadvertently keep that cycle going. So I mean, I can give you an example of one that popped into my head as you were describing that, yes, please.

Speaker 3:

Okay, let's say I'm the kind of person who's really friendly at work and you're the kind of person who kind of keeps your cards close to your chest and I come and I spend a lot of time in your office or in your cubicle or in your station or wherever you're at, talking to you and asking you about personal things, and you are feeling wildly uncomfortable with that and you don't want to be rude, but you don't want to encourage me. So you get very formal with me. You say, well, that's very nice, michelle, I got some work to do, Gotta go. Now you're putting on that distancing armor. You're saying I'm going to just be super professional here, I'm not going to let this yakity yak over here disturb me. So you put on your professional armor and I interpret it as you being dismissive, aloof, unkind. So I then interpret your armor and think of you as like well, wow, that guy's not that friendly and I don't think I can trust him as much. So then I might do something to protect myself.

Speaker 3:

Well, maybe I'm just I'm going to talk to someone else about you in the office because that makes me feel better Like I was at the her party here, as opposed to thinking that maybe my yaketing at that moment was actually part of what contributed to you shutting me down. So I just think of you as bad guy, shutting down, bad guy. Talk to my colleague about you, and now we've got this little gossip thing going on, which now is going to in some ways be a threat to you, cause now who wants to be the subject of gossip in the office? And then you might perceive that and say I'm further distancing from that woman and her friend and that then more tighter armor might go on, and then I might come and pester a little bit more and we kind of enact this cycle of our armors interacting in a suboptimal way, which then degrades the relationship further.

Speaker 1:

As I listened to this story, michelle, you know I'm thinking and relating this to my own experience and something as little as that might be. Well, I put on a tiny bit of armor it's just a tiny bit, yes and then another day I interact with someone and it's fine. I don't have the same experience. What happens when I continue to have that same experience over and over again? And then, let's say, I'm interacting with that person, it's a few minutes before a team meeting starts and something is said or something I interpret something to be very dismissive.

Speaker 1:

Well now I've had a history of repeated armoring with this person and I'm using now I'm trying to make this sound effect Brene Brown's armoring up, where it is not just a tiny little armor, it's a big one and I don't know how to recover from that. Like if this is me normalizing our human experience and we all come with a particular, some experience and practices that help us unpack this. Many of the clients that we work with don't have this in their toolbox yet, so if I don't know how to jump in and respond or resolve where. You know what I really loved about some of the things in your book? Really like owning our own armor and realizing the impact it has on others. Yes, I want to ask you a particular question when you are working with teams, what happens when you get them or you invite them to really look at their own behaviors and how they're impacting others? Because, again, I don't think that that's something we typically do. We sit in our I'm a good person, I didn't do anything wrong, it's all you.

Speaker 3:

I think what you're raising is the elemental point of this, which is we recognize we get armored up. The thing we don't know how to do is how do we get unarmored? How do we take it off? And I think that, if you think about how difficult it is to take your armor off, if you're interacting with one person who's difficult to you, or you're on a team where it's very threatening an environment, no one's going to take their armor off, no one's going to be vulnerable. They have good reason to have the armor on. And so that's what brings us to the dilemma of okay, so now we have a totally armored team, everyone's doing their different things that are armored, and so that's the challenge that I'm really pointing to here how do you get people to take the armor off, because everything points them in the direction of keeping it on. So you asked about a team. So, let's say, I'm asked to work with a very armored team.

Speaker 3:

The leader is feeling like everyone's pointing at her, saying you know, not a good leader, you have someone else on the team who feels like they could be performing so much better if only someone else on the team was pulling their weight. I'm not looking good because I'm in sales and the product is no good. And if only the product people could get their stuff in line, then I could make more sales. And someone else is saying that leader has no vision and so the leader is cautious. And then the cautiousness of the leader and the attacks and the gossiping around the corners about how dysfunctional the team is and how I hate that guy in sales and that whole thing we're talking about. You know, you guys are all about trust. We're talking about how do you move not from neutral to trust but from mistrust back to trust. That is no easy road. No, you're a team that's mistrusting each other and you're trying to come back to trust. So the way to do that takes, first of all, it does take some vulnerability, but it also takes really helpful guidance. You can't just like, oh, let's open a conversation and let's throw our armor off and let's all be vulnerable together. You know, leaders sometimes try to do that. They take everybody out on an offsite, like to do free falls and, you know, go swimming or jump off high towers or whatever. And the idea of those kinds of activities is to try to get people in a little bit more of a human, vulnerable state. Let down your armor. Let each see each other as real people. That doesn't last unless you actually get to the nugget of what is tying everybody up in the first place. So when I do an offsite with a team that wants to actually attempt to do this work on nodding the knots, I meet with each person individually first, I share with them the concepts of the book on your armor, which is basically like three ideas.

Speaker 3:

Think about what is threatening you in the workplace. Where's it coming from? Is it coming from the general market? It's something that's difficult for the whole team or something that's unique to something difficult for you from other people. Number one know your threats.

Speaker 3:

Second, how do you react to those threats? What are you doing that's reacting to those things? So when your colleague or when your leader seems like a weak leader, what are you doing? And the person might say to me well, sometimes I try to express some vision from the side. When our leader isn't showing any vision, I'll say shouldn't we be looking at this from the bigger picture of such and such and such and such? And I say, oh wow, that sounds like you're trying to really be helpful. What's the impact of doing that? I don't know. I think it's helpful to the team. Okay, is there any potential negative impact that that could have? And the person needs some nudging to hear well, how do you think the leader might react to that? Well, I don't know, she probably doesn't like it, but she's not doing it, so someone's got to do it.

Speaker 3:

And so I say, look, I think what you're doing is totally reasonable. You're trying to help the leader. You're doing it in this public way where you're saying hello, everybody, I'm showing vision. Leader isn't. What do you think the impact of that might be? It might be a little bit of a threat to the leader. Well, I suppose that could be.

Speaker 3:

But I mean with the leader and I say how do you react to the team? And she might be saying something like I think the team is like everybody out for themselves, everyone's doing their own thing and it's very hard for me to lead them because they really don't respond to my leadership. Okay, so that's threatening. You feel your authorities undermined? How do you react to that? What are you doing? So your threat is you feel your authorities undermined? How are you reacting?

Speaker 3:

I'm asking her what your armor is and she might say well, I'm just a little more cautious. I don't I don't announce big initiatives that people are going to disagree with. Okay, what do you think the impact of that particular armor might be? Well, I suppose it could look like I don't have as much vision and I try to help each person on the team recognize that they are contributing to this like they're experiencing reasonable threats but they're armoring up in response, which is normal and self-protective and great, but it has inadvertent impact on the dynamics of the team. So each person individually has to think about what their armor is and own it. Owning means I acknowledge I'm doing it and I can acknowledge that it has impact on others. And when you can have a conversation where people are saying like this is how I'm reacting, it starts to open up the knots and people are able to see like, yeah, that's not your usual self who's doing that. It's just you're in an armored state because of the threats that you're facing.

Speaker 2:

One of the things you said earlier, which I think is what you're pointing to again here, is that it isn't the people interacting. That's the problem. It's the armor that's interacting, and that's the problem. Yes, so I've got all my armor on. I can't even, I don't even know what I'm doing. My armor is out there doing it.

Speaker 3:

Yes, as opposed to making choices myself, Exactly I think I've fixed such an important part of this is that, if we can all agree that every one of us has two states of being, one is our regular, lovely, nice self and the other is the way we get when we're armored.

Speaker 3:

And I would say any one of us, we're all really nice people, but when we're armored we're not as nice, we're not as flexible, we're not as warm, we're not as productive. I think of it as like your evil twin, and your evil twin only comes out under threat. Otherwise you're going to get my regular self. So when a team can actually acknowledge that it's the armor that's causing the bad dynamic, it allows people to return to their best selves and distinguish that less good behavior from who they elementally are, and that makes it possible for everyone to feel more ease in owning it. It's not my personality to be overly cautious as a leader. It's. I'm responding in this moment to threats that cause me to be more cautious, and if I can feel a little bit released from these threats, I'm going to go back to be my regular self and you're going to go back to be your regular self, and that's what we all really need.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and that caution, for example, in your leader that you're talking about here imaginary leader is something that that person has practiced over probably much of their life. If they practice that's their way of responding to a threat of someone not respecting them as a leader. Well, I'll just become more cautious and again, that armor that they put on, the more cautiousness provokes armor in other people.

Speaker 1:

Yes, this is reminding me of I'm not sure if you're familiar with this one, michelle the conscious leadership group and the above the line, below the line video. Have you ever seen that one? Yes, so what I'm listening is you're sharing these examples is that this is part of our normalized human experience and that actually living 100% unarmored all the time isn't what life is about, right. Rather, it's noticing when we are and making an intentional choice of. Actually, sometimes I might need to stay armored because the threat is real or I don't feel safe or I don't trust, and here's why I'm assessing that way. Yes, my love, really normalizing again our human experience is not that we're so woke and so amazing that we can be unarmored and vulnerable all the time. Rather, can we be more aware of when we are, what's causing it and the choice we make after that to slow down, minimize or potentially stop that cycle?

Speaker 2:

Yes, yeah, and even to say, okay, I don't trust this person in this situation right now. So I do need to protect myself to some degree, but I don't need to put on all of my arm, I don't need to go full distrust. I can actually intentionally choose some behaviors that will protect me to some degree, that sufficiently protect me and still be able to work with the person or work on the team or not trigger other people on the team or whatever it is. But again, that conscious choice, yeah, nice.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think at the point when you detect that there's some growing mistrust between you and other team members, you're going to be armored, the other team members are going to be armored, and is someone going to feel enough of that space that you're describing, charles, to be able to say hmm, I'm noticing that we're growing in distrust here. I want to return to trust, and so, in order to do that, I got to look at my own behavior. Own what's mine, own what I'm contributing to this, and open a space for people to explain what's going on for them too. Because think about the question you'd have to ask someone.

Speaker 3:

I mean, it might look something like this hey, I think we're stuck in something. I think we're stuck in a bit of a rut here together. I'm noticing that every time I come to you to ask for a report, I get a little bit of stonewalling and I'm wondering if there's something that I'm doing that might be causing you to not be your usual self. We used to have a very smooth kind of dialogue, and now something has gotten gummed up a little bit and I noticed that you're responding to me in a certain way, and maybe I'm responding to you in a certain way. But you see it also that maybe we're caught in something here. The person might stay quite armored and say, no, no, I don't see anything, I don't know what we're talking about Everything's fine, that's just another sign of the armor.

Speaker 3:

You might ask again, and then at that point they might say well, yeah, I mean, you are basically pestering me and not giving me any credit for what I'm doing.

Speaker 1:

You're annoying today.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, right, so I have to be open to say, yep, my evil twin has been a bit pestering recently. It's been my armor. You have seen that, because I've been feeling under threat about this or that. What's it been like for you? Well, I'm totally swamped and you don't recognize what's going on on my end and you just keep asking. So you create a conversation that has space for people to talk about what their threats are, how they're responding, how that's different than their usual self, and then there's a moment of okay, so let's reset back to our best selves. But you have to catch it as the mistrust is growing before that bigger, heavier armor goes on. I think it's like there's shield armor and then there's weapon armor. Yeah, okay, I'm going to protect myself from this person with a bit of a shield, and now they're really annoying me, so now I'm going to go for them. That's like more weapon armor.

Speaker 1:

So I got to catch it while we're still in the shield phase. Yeah, there's a bit of sunscreen going on before it goes to right. Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

The scenario you just described too is so common when you have situations where one member of a group of people like the boss of this group of people moves on, takes another position and one of that group is moved up into that new position and the old alliances and allegiances are broken and so people become armored up around that with the new boss and even sometimes with each other. Yeah, that's a really common scenario that I see, so that's great to listen to you walk through that and talk about how that develops and can be unnotted.

Speaker 3:

Yes, I mean. The threat in that situation that you're describing is, in one way or another, every person feels undervalued. So the people who did not get promoted feel undervalued. The person who is promoted and the former peers look at them like, what can you do? Why are you the one who got picked here? So they have a little bit of a threat of being undervalued. And what do they all do with that? Some people are going to go in the fight direction. When you feel a threat of undermining, you might go in the fight direction of like look at me, here's what I can do. I'm going to show you what I can do and I will prove you wrong for undervaluing me. And other people are going to go into the direction of more of a flight response which is like oh, you're going to undervalue me, All right, well, let's see what kind of work you're going to get out of me. You know there's a lot of different options of how we respond to that, but again, reasonable, normal, but has impact.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and being able to, like you say, own it, say, oh okay, I get it, this is me. This is how I protect myself in these kinds of situations.

Speaker 1:

I'm also wondering about the role of the leader in modeling the behavior. Yes, so being the one to, here's what I'm noticing. I've got some armor on declaring it.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

So A the role of the leaders part one of the question and then B, I would say also from the lens of applied behavioral science is reinforcing the behavior that you want to see. So leader sees Charles, pause, name the armor, be open and vulnerable about it, and then the leaders, like you know, I so appreciate that you did that. This is really important for our team. This is really helping us build trust and vulnerability with each other. So I'm curious your perspective on the role of the leader and modeling and the role of reinforcing the behavior we want to see continue Great points.

Speaker 3:

I would say, first of all, when I'm doing a team intervention where I'm asking people to own their armor, my rule is the leader always goes first. The leader has to go first, because no one is going to take off their armor unless the leader says I'm going to be vulnerable too. I'm contributing to this also because see what happens more often. What people expect is a leader comes to a meeting and says you all aren't taking enough initiative, you all aren't being productive enough. You know, you all seem to have some blocks, and I'm going to give you feedback about the blocks that you have. It's sort of like they pull themselves out of it as if I have nothing to do with this at all. Yeah, and you guys are just I don't know, have some crummy behavior that I need to comment about. Yeah, so when the leader does the opposite and says I think I'm contributing to your lack of initiative, I possibly I want to know more about that, and if they open that, team members can say things like well, you know, the fact is is that you totally correct every single thing we start. So it actually makes more sense for us to wait until you've made the plan and not take initiative on it because you're going to change the whole thing anyway and the leader will be like oh, that's why you don't take initiative. Who would, if it's just an opportunity for me to tear it apart. So leaders have to show their vulnerability first. Leaders have to give themselves feedback about it. If you want someone else to accept feedback about their performance, you have to be able to do that for yourself.

Speaker 3:

I think, in a way, owning is an interesting way to give the people on your team an opportunity to explain why their evil twins are coming out, why they're armored. Yeah, instead of saying you kind of like an unprofessional personality because you're doing this thing you shouldn't be doing. Instead the leader saying this is weird, you're acting unprofessionally. For a change, there must be some threat in the environment that's causing you to turn into this evil twin. Why is that happening? And then it's not helping your employee make an excuse. It's saying you're a normal human who is doing less well for some reason that I would like to hear about. It totally changes it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, this is so bizarre. This is so bizarre. Okay, so, when you were mentioning conflict feedback, I'm not even in a situation where that's something that's happening right now and I automatically leaned back and got my armor ready. And I'm not even in a real. I'm having a lovely conversation with you too. So I was like, oh my God, I noticed that Amanda would be so proud of us. So even I'm not in a threat, but even hearing those words automatically had me lean back and I'm preparing to protect.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, Did you ever hear that joke that says what are the scariest words in the corporate world? Can I give you a little feedback?

Speaker 2:

Oh yes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, which I take for code. Is I'm going to punch you in the gut and say something really unkind? Right Like you're unprofessional, yes, and I immediately would go screw you. I am not, is it for a thing?

Speaker 2:

That's right. No, thank you. I do not want any feedback from you right now.

Speaker 1:

It's so fascinating.

Speaker 3:

But if you understand, actually, that from a leader's perspective, they're trying to give feedback in order to help coming from a good place, right, exactly, but inevitably it causes us to armor up, right, because adult to adult feedback always feels like well, who are you to judge me?

Speaker 2:

Well and that's part of the issue, of course, is you just experienced, eela? We expect feedback to be a negative judgment of us. We do Not of our behavior or our capabilities, but of us as human being, as a human being, right, and that's why we put on armor. We don't put on armor because we think people are in some way causing problems for us. It's because we feel like our core cells are being attacked. We have that way of looking, yeah.

Speaker 1:

This has been so incredibly interesting, michelle. I feel like we need to continue this conversation. Yeah, this has been fascinating. You've got me chewing on so many things already. I'm going to like rattle off a whole bunch of questions, but that's not the time or place, so why don't we close with asking one final question for you? Okay?

Speaker 2:

I'm just going to pick the one final question.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I'm feeling like really anxious now.

Speaker 1:

No, what's the question going to be? No, it'll be delicious. Do you want to pick a Charles or do you want me to do it?

Speaker 2:

Well, I have a question. Okay, go for it. You also, I know, have great questions, so why don't you go ahead and if there's time, I'll ask a question also?

Speaker 1:

I think the question and what I'd love to hear from you is I'm sure many of our listeners would like to be able to pay more attention to when I'm armoring up, and so what's even one small thing they can start to do to build the awareness of, oh, I'm armoring, whether it's a tiny bit of sunscreen or the full armor, what's something that they can start to do right away?

Speaker 3:

I think you're absolutely right that it takes self-awareness and so much of the time that we're thinking about people at work is focused on what other people are doing so first to take that focus and bring it inside and to notice. I mean, a simple question is when am I doing things that I think are out of character for myself? So I actually had a conversation once with a leader where I was having just an individual conversation with him and in the conversation he was rattling off all of his accomplishments and how good he is at his job. And I said to him you know, I'm just curious. I'm just like your coach, I'm nobody important in the hierarchy of your company. I'm curious, why are you telling me all this? It seems like there's a purpose to it. Is this the thing you normally do, just kind of rattle off your accomplishments, or is this something that's a bit unusual for you? And he jumped on the opportunity when I called it unusual and he said you know, it's the strangest thing. It is unusual for me. I'm actually a humble person. I'm a person who prides myself on being actually not self-promoting. So you're right, it is weird. Why am I doing that in this conversation with my coach?

Speaker 3:

And then I asked the further question is it also happening at work? Yeah, I guess it is kind of happening at work. Well, there must be some good reason why it's happening for you at work. So, being able to just self-identify like here's my regular self and here is my less optimal self, and then to ask yourself the question why might that less optimal self be happening? And that familiarizes you with what are the threats that are happening around me.

Speaker 3:

And then the hardest question, I think, is to ask yourself okay, that's got it, I react in this way, got it. What might be the not great impact of my armoring in that way on other people? That's like a real, like heart searcher. It might be something that I'm doing, but I do think it takes just, you know, looking at your own, looking at your own self and saying what am I out of character? When am I performing at my best? And most people can identify when I was at that job. I was sailing, I felt valued, I was doing well, always well. I felt included in the group, always well Somehow. At this other job it felt competitive. I felt diminished, I felt like I couldn't find my space, I felt like I was left out of the group and then I wasn't quite myself.

Speaker 2:

So even recognizing the difference is very helpful and then applying that and being willing to apply it to other people yeah, yeah, and I think too, one of the things that, in that looking at myself, that I can do as a way of kind of getting registering that somehow I'm putting on some armor here, is to really sense my body and sense when, okay, there's something different here. My body is reacting differently than it usually does, I'm tense, or a particular part of my body is kind of uncomfortable and in pain or whatever it is. That is a signal I know. That really for me is an important piece of under. Okay. So then from there I can go to what's going on. Am I armoring up? Do I feel threatened? Yes, what is the threat I'm feeling?

Speaker 3:

Right, oh, I love this. Sometimes, if you are starting from the somatic like I came home from work all agitated and I need to have a drink because I work was so terrible you're starting with what the gut feeling is. Sometimes it actually can be hard to name what was my threat. So one of the things that I have in the book is this checklist of common threats that people experience at work that you can actually look through and look for yourself like which of these things might be happening to me. Am I feeling like my livelihood is at stake? Am I feeling a little disrespected? Am I feeling like something's unfair? Am I feeling compared to someone else? And as you go slowly because you have to go really slowly through that checklist, to think, is that happening for me, who is it happening with and what is it causing, it helps you to pin the feeling in your body to an actual something that I would name a threat, and then it becomes a little bit easier to understand what your armor is around it.

Speaker 2:

We just had a great conversation, michelle Brody, thank you Amazing. This has been a fabulous conversation, amazing. Thank you both. And oh, your Armor a revolutionary change for workplace culture is a great book. You can read it, whether or not you're being coached by Michelle, and you can get a heck of a lot out of it. I would recommend it to anybody and everybody in the workplace and thank you so much for joining us and talking with us today.

Speaker 3:

Thank you so much for having me, for the amazing questions and the really deep and wonderful conversation so appreciate it, loved it, loved it.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much, michelle, loved it. Thank you On behalf of both Charles and myself. We want to say a big thank you to our producer and sound editor, chad Penner. Hilary Rideout of Inside Out Branding, who does our promotion, our amazing graphics and marketing press, and our theme music was composed by Jonas Smith. If you have any questions or comments for us about the podcast, if you have a trust-related situation that you'd like us to take up in one of our episodes, we'd love to hear from you at Trust, at TrustOnPurposeorg.

Speaker 2:

And we'd also like to thank you, our listeners. Take care and keep building trust on purpose Until next time.

Speaker 1:

Until next time.

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