Part 3: The SOCIAL STYLE® Connection to Resilience

Part 1: The Negativity Bias

Part 2: How Can We Build Up Our Resilience? 

The SOCIAL STYLE® Connection to Resilience

The negativity bias lives in our brain, and it affects us all—humans are simply wired to focus more on the negative than the positive. However, research shows there’s a handful of skills that help people become more resilient.

Your Response Depends on Your Style

The bias is the same: We all experience the negativity bias, and it doesn’t matter what SOCIAL STYLE you are or what personality you have. It’s a human condition we all experience. But the things people say to themselves might be different, and can vary by Style.

Think about the Analytical Style, a person who has the need to be right; they want to be correct in the way they do things. If that person has an internalizing negativity bias pattern, they’re taking blame for more things than they should, so they might be saying to themselves “What did I do wrong?” or “What mistakes did I make?” or “What did I not account for and overlook?” They’re blaming themselves for things going wrong.

Contrast that with an Expressive Style person, who has a strong need for approval, for recognition. If they also have an Internalizing negativity bias pattern, they tell themselves things like, “My boss will think I’m incompetent” or “I’ll be embarrassed in front of my peers because of my mistakes.” They might be more concerned with how they look in front of others, because of their fundamental Style need.

In these examples, both the Analytical Style and Analytical Style are internalizing; they’re both taking more blame than they should. But the specific concerns and worries they’re telling themselves might be different, which affects their behavior differently as well.

How Style Impacts Our Resilience Skills

Generally, some skills might come more easily or more difficult for people, depending on their SOCIAL STYLE.

For example, both the Amiable and Analytical Styles are ask-assertive, so courageous communication might be more difficult for them. To manage and overcome that difficulty, they need to practice getting more comfortable doing it.

On the flip side, another one of the skills we measure is self-composure: maintaining composure during stressful moments. Driving and Expressive Style people are tell-assertive, so self-composure might be more of a challenge because they’re going to express their frustrations more outwardly, more quickly.

The important thing is to be aware of the skills and plan how you’ll use them in specific situations, recognizing what doesn’t come easily and practicing those skills to get more comfortable using them.

We all have strengths and weaknesses, so the skills portion of TRACOM’s Adaptive Mindset for Resilience training program shows us how to recognize what behaviors are most difficult for us and provides strategies to overcome those natural challenges.

How Does Backup Behavior Play into Resilience?

Backup behaviors are what you might show when you’re stressed and frustrated, because your Style need isn’t being met. It’s your automatic way of trying to lower your stress.

In SOCIAL STYLE training, we discuss how people around you can see this behavior but can’t see your thoughts. Behind the scenes, when you go into backup behavior, you’re saying negative, often unrealistic things to yourself.

Others can help you come out of backup behavior by trying to meet your Style needs, which, of course, is Versatility. However, you can take responsibility for yourself by examining your negative automatic thoughts and challenging them. Recognizing that backup behavior is counterproductive by serving your own needs and no one else’s, you can calm yourself down.

By practicing what you learn in TRACOM’s Adaptive Mindset for Resilience training, you’re speeding up your ability to deal with stress productively and decreasing how often you go into backup behavior.

By Casey Mulqueen, Ph.D.

Director of Learning & Development