Inappropriate Behaviour at Work: Why Don't we Speak Up? - Vista
A drawn image of a brain with hand underneath
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Inappropriate Behaviour at Work: Why Don’t we Speak Up?

It’s happened to most of us.  ‘That joke’ (or comment, action or question) at work that made us feel uncomfortable. And yet, we put up with it – and perhaps even laughed along with inappropriate behaviour at work.  But why?

This has to be the diagram we draw the most often in any week at Vista Learning. It’s a representation of the functions of the human brain based on a theory by Dr. Paul Maclean in the 1950s.

How do we use this tool?

We use it to help managers make sense of – and therefore handle effectively – emotional reactions from team members.

Dr. Maclean’s theory in so far as it relates to the evolution of the structure of our brains has been widely criticised since then, as understanding of neuroscience has developed, but the inter-play between the different ‘parts’ of the brain, and their respective roles in influencing our reactions, is still recognised. See this interesting article from the Yale School of Medicine, written soon after Dr. Maclean’s death.

It gives a straightforward and memorable way to explain why people don’t respond well to feedback (and how to overcome it); and in this example, why team members do not speak up when they experience (or witness) inappropriate behaviour. Once our delegates understand why they don’t, they become open to exploring techniques how to overcome a first instinct – and so do it well.

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