Johnnie Moore

Passing the anxiety parcel

Some reflections on the chapter of my book called Hello, Darkness
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Finding more creative responses to "negative" emotions

Transcript of this video:

In my book Unhurried, there is a chapter called Hello Darkness, which is about having a more creative relationship with what are sometimes labeled as negative emotions like fear or anger or boredom.

I think so often with those feelings, because they’re not very comfortable, we try to shut them down or distract from them by going shopping or by obsessing about something else. Or we mightlet them overwhelm us or we might try and pass ’em on to somebody else.

And in organisations there’s a phenomenon I sometimes call anxiety pass the parcel, which is an example of this. And it tends to work like this: The higher you are up in the hierarchy, the more likely it is that you are going to be indulged by those below you, in trying to pass on to them your anxiety.

You think you are giving clear and direct leadership, but you’re also in a way, on another level, saying to the people below you here, you, you have my anxiety.

And on the surface, they will perhaps not appear to resist that. but then they themselves will try and deal with that anxiety by either ignoring it or perhaps dumping it on someone else, often even further down in the hierarchy.

I think more interesting things happen in our groups, in our teams, in our relationships, and in indeed in ourselves when we have a less binary or manic response to feelings like anger or anxiety.

And where instead of seeing them as individual things that we need to get rid of, as things that we might share with our colleagues and work on creatively together.

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

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