A person that I struggled to work with over the years once, in a moment of self-clarity asked: “what communication pattern and anti-pattern do you think applies to me.” First of all, in fairness, I don’t do that. I create the patterns based on what I observe, but I don’t assume that someone always uses the same patterns or anti-patterns. I also don’t like labeling people, and sometimes an anti-pattern is a label that sticks, far longer than the meeting did.
“The answer to your question is, I don’t. That is for you to decide not me.” Certainly, as an observer, I have an opinion. (I did, in fact, one of the anti-patterns was modeled after that person’s behavior in meetings) But it doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what you think. What do you think your pattern is?” For the next hour they, using the anti-pattern I had pegged them for describing the patterns that applied to them.
I have to say at the end of the house I was convinced that the anti-pattern I had assigned to them was right. But I was also right in not sharing my opinion. It is critical to remember that no one chooses to see themselves in a bad light. Self-reflection is more to see zits in the mirror than it is to correct the flaws we share with others. We are the children of a lesser god, to borrow from the play. Children who cannot see ourselves sometimes for where we are. I know sometimes I cannot see myself. I know a number of the patterns and anti-patterns I have found in others are in myself as well.