Resourced Leaders

'Resourced Leaders' is a premier Australian based Leadership Performance organisation that specialises in working with senior executives, leaders and high performing individuals who aspire to greater levels of personal leadership and success.


Posted by Phil Owens
Phil Owens
Philip is one of Australia’s leading performance and leadership specialists. He
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 19 July 2012 in Leadership

Behind every behaviour is an intent.


When you sit in a meeting and there is someone up the back that behaves in a passive aggressive manner, you can wonder why they are behaving in that way.  Do they really WANT to annoy everyone and cause collaboration and performance to collapse?

Often, individuals have developed behaviour patterns that they use to serve their intentions.  However, the intentions that they want to serve may have at one point been positively served by the behaviour, but these behaviours, after they have been performed a few times, have been encoded into their brains as 'habits'.

So that person on one level is behaving to provide themselves with something positive, but because they have developed a rigid behaviour pattern, they 'roll out' this habit in a rigid way at times which no longer serve them (or others).

In the case of a passive aggressive, it is often true that the person is afraid of appearing incompetent and therefore expresses their opinion in such a way that it deflects the potential for someone to connect it back to them. This may have been true at some point in their lives - when it was important for them - and now it is simply a habituated response.

This is one example of many typical 'meeting behaviours' where the behaviour is disconnected from the intention.

Working with a range of groups, boards and leadership teams around the world has shown me that these behaviours greatly impact team output and performance.  One habit response may trigger other habit responses in others, and very soon the room is full of defensive individuals that are not contributing to moving the group forward, but instead are busy defending their self-concepts from the 'supposed' attacks.

Do you see this in your teams?

If so, here are a few things you can do about it:

Seek out the positive intent in behaviours in the room.  When someone says something or behaves in a way that does not serve the group, enquire (not, not interrogate!) what the intention is in them saying or doing that.  Often they will come up with a positive intention for the group outcome, which allows the oppportunity to move forward.

Make the group self-responsible for how they treat each other.  Spending time developing 'team standards' and making the group responsible for their own policing can ensure that unwanted behaviours or comments are challenged appropriately from the group (asking if there is a way that they can say or do what they did in a way that meets the group standards).

Be clear about roles within the group and the outcomes that are required.  Often when the topic is unclear or too big, overwhelm forces the group members to try and reshape the topic to their own comfort zones.  Smaller chunks are easier to process, digest and resolve.

Call out persistent behavoural troublemakers.  Get them coaching on self-awareness and behavours.


In the end, a team only behaves as well as its members.  Trusting that the team has good intent allows a positive frame to work forward toward great outcomes.

Stay resourceful,


Philip is one of Australia’s leading performance and leadership specialists. He honed his skills working with executives and leaders around the world, coaching and consulting in over 30 countries, from entrepreneurial start-ups to boards of multi-billion dollar businesses.


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Tuesday, 19 February 2019