May Skillshare – Dealing with Difficult Behaviors
May 6th
Facilitators: Becca Mintz and Rachel Clements

AGENDA
7-7:10PM     Games in character
7:10-7:20PM     1-Announcements
        2-Pair questions
        3-Categorizing behaviors
        4-Dividing into groups
7:20-7:45PM    Focus questions (in groups)/making what-why-relate-support poster
7:45-8PM    Skit creation
8-8:30PM    Groups present and receive feedback
8:30-9PM     Reflecting in pairs. Small groups. Praxis
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The skillshare began with a game in character activity where skillshare attendees portrayed their most difficult behavior. This included individuals shutting down, lack of attention to the facilitator, being pessimistic/judgmental, and other negative behaviors.
Group Discussion Questions:
1.Think of a situation that often arises in your own life/facilitation that falls into a difficult behavior category, “What is it?”
2. How might this behavior be connected to feelings/needs that may not always be fulfilled in a group?
3. What could be best done to support the group and the individual in this situation?
4. How can we bring this into your own work?
                ------------------------------------------

The five different groups of behaviors were:
•    Disengaged/shutdown
•    Dominant/Overbearing
•    Oppressive comments/behaviors
•    Negativity/pessimistic comments
•    Passive Aggressive Statements

Responses:
Disengaged /Shutdown

Reasons
-feeling that input is not valued
-feeling uncomfortable or unsafe
-not wanting to take up space
Feelings + thoughts
(see above)
-“I don’t want to have to argue” – avoid arguing and confrontation
-repression – “I’m probably wrong”
-shyness/being a quiet person

Facilitation tools for addressing difficult behaviors
- ask specific questions that everyone can answer
-ask questions directly to participants – esp. after open questions (+ option to pass) – step up and step back
“I’d like to hear from someone who has not spoken”
-ask for dissenting opinions – make sure everyone buys into decisions
-finger method
-ask without force
-ask in other ways
                ---------------------------------------------

Dominant/Overbearing
Reasons
-not being understood or sensing that others aren’t being understood
-so much to share
-discomfort w/silence
Feelings and thoughts
-racing thoughts –anxiety
-having values challenged
Facilitation tools for Addressing Issues
-clarification
-echoing back
-ample time for discussion
-reframing
-acknowledgment (parking lots)
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Oppressive comments/behaviors
Reasons
-overthinking
-don’t know better – yet
-haven’t had experience
Feelings and thoughts
-scared – frustrated
-don’t care what you think – Confused
Facilitation tools
-offer/speak-up
-ouch loops
-process the behavior
-compassion and accountability
-validate feelings
-go to other people in room
-find common ground
-come back to connection
-meet them where they are
-get at root of feeling


Passive Aggressive
Reasons
-past experience
-fear of expressing oneself directly
-feel uncomfortable
-no space/venue to express oneself directly
-think activity is dumb/judging
-want others to accept/like me
Feelings and thoughts
-rage – negativity – judgement – guilt – disempowered – resentment – frustration – despair – desperation – desire to escape
Facilitation tools
-acknowledge behavior and impacts
-personal time out
-group break
-give a space for me to speak my mind (constructively, safe space) = pairs, small groups, go-arounds, journaling, anonymous notes
-take temperature of room to see if others feel the same way
 -naming impact – timing – address the feelings – not content/numbers
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Negativity/pessimistic comments
Reasons
-excluded – marginalized – overwhelmed – disrespected – impatient – untrusting
Feelings and thoughts
-angry – sad  - mind is closing down – judgmental – hopeless – want others to feel the same way as strongly as one does
Facilitation tools
-validation – listening and acknowledging – compassion – empathy – highlighting everyone’s contributions – clear next steps – resolving the problem
–taking responsibility for mistakes – ignoring is the worst thing
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Keys to make it work overall:
-compassion for underlying cause of behavior
-awareness of our identities
-listening
-ample time for discussion
-deep genuine humility
-facilitator being able to change strategy/format/facilitation tools
-validation/clarification/echoing
-being prepared/well-informed
Self-awareness/compassion for personal triggers