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

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
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

Disengaged /Shutdown

-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

-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
-echoing back
-ample time for discussion
-acknowledgment (parking lots)

Oppressive comments/behaviors
-don’t know better – yet
-haven’t had experience
Feelings and thoughts
-scared – frustrated
-don’t care what you think – Confused
Facilitation tools
-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
-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

Negativity/pessimistic comments
-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

Keys to make it work overall:
-compassion for underlying cause of behavior
-awareness of our identities
-ample time for discussion
-deep genuine humility
-facilitator being able to change strategy/format/facilitation tools
-being prepared/well-informed
Self-awareness/compassion for personal triggers