RED ZONE behaviors lack creativity, generosity and heart as they are grounded in the fight/flight/freeze response. The tricky thing is that RED ZONE behaviors are primal and biology based. They’re normal and part of the human condition. Yet, what if they become habitual and the norm? You then have a RED ZONE culture.

You most likely have experienced a Red Zone culture and have seen its negative effects on a family, an organization, a team or a business. Culture plays a major role in the long term health of any social group. A group that functions mostly in the Red Zone can have devastating long term consequences which include:

  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Victimization
  • Selfishness
  • Lifelessness
  • Aggression
  • Illness
  • Dehumanization of others
  • Co-dependency
  • Entitlement
  • Hostility
  • Passive-aggression

AWARENESS is the first step in managing defensive, Red Zone behavior. As you learn to manage the Red Zone, you can create the kind of environment that is sustaining, life-affirming, productive and healthy.

Below are common RED ZONE behaviors that are familiar to all of us. Take some time to identify your “go-to” RED ZONE behaviors. If you have trouble identifying yours, ask some colleagues and/or family members. Be sure to ask follow up questions and thank them for their feedback.

I blame others for the circumstances in my life

I feel threatened, attacked, wronged

I respond defensively and my type patterns are in their fullest glory

I trigger defensiveness in others

I am rigid, stubborn, reactive and righteous

I am condescending and intellectually superior

I use shame, blame and accusations

I am unaware of the climate of negativity and antagonism I create

I am unaware of my blind spots

I do not seek or value feedback

I see others as the problem, the enemy, the “dreaded other”

I see conflict as a battle to win or to be totally avoided

I do not let go or forgive

I communicate with high levels of disapproval and contempt

I refuse to engage and hide out in silence/avoidance

I focus on short term advantage and gain

I feel victimized by other points of view

I think in a black/white, right/wrong way

I don’t listen

Source: Jim Tamm, Radical Collaboration, ©2004

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