Podcast 023 – Passive LSI Action Tips

A question that often comes up from people is around getting stuck when it comes to the action phase of debriefing an LSI. In this episode of Culture Bites, we talk about some ideas of actions which you could use for people who are particularly high in the Passive Thinking and Behaviour styles.

Caveat: Everyone is an individual and circumstances will be different from one person to the next. There is no such thing as a definite list of ‘if you have this style then take this action’. People are experts on themselves, so work with them to develop the actions which are right for them. With that said, we wanted to make this episode just to give some ideas as a starting point for you to think about and develop.

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Microphone Key Takeaways and Ideas from this Episode:

About Passive Styles:

A high level of Passive (green) thinking and behaviour suggests that individuals might be struggling to come forward to speak the whole truth.  They might be holding back a bit I’m not sharing what they really think. They could be feeling a bit of self-doubt and might find it difficult to get traction and feel a bit stuck. From a behavioural point of view, you might see them doing things like checking in frequently, high levels of agreeableness, taking on too much because they’re challenged to say no to things. They might also be quite uncomfortable where there’s not very prescriptive rules or processes around them.


Getting someone in a Passive mindset to be clear on what they want to achieve could be a big leap in the early phase of development. Instead it could be an idea to get individuals to start journaling – It’s about having an unapologetic moment with yourself: what are the things that are important to me? What do I want to achieve? It might seem a bit quirky to some people, but it’s about capturing your thoughts and is a great way of lowering some of your anxieties and crystallizing what is actually already in you but you haven’t been able to articulate.

Create a Gap Between Thinking and Response:

People who are high in Approval might struggle to say ‘no’ or to disagree with others out of a fear of falling out of favour. One technique individuals can use is to practice is, instead of saying yes immediately to allow some space between the question and your answer. You might ask if you can assess your priorities and then you’ll get back to them. Another way is to start asking some questions around what is the urgency of the request and where does it sit in the scheme of things and yeah. It means you’re allowing some time to go back and evaluate and then revisit that conversation.  It’s really about creating that gap between thinking and response so you can then choose your response rather than being on auto-pilot.

The Language You Use:

People find it difficult and awkward to disagree with others – but sometimes a modification of language can help you do it in a way that isn’t so direct but is still clear and understood. Rather than saying “I disagree with you”, you could say “I share a different view”. “That’s an interesting view, an alternative view is…”.  These approaches aren’t disagreeing but rather they are about broadening perspectives.

From Advocacy to Options:

An advocacy approach to group conversations is when everyone starts saying “I think this..” or “I think we should do that”. The challenge with that kind of approach is that we tie up our ego with the suggestion because it’s what “I think”. Instead try using a group process where you establish all the options without judgement before then talking to each option. This kind of approach means people aren’t disagreeing with the person but rather examining the options.

Change it Up:

For people high in Conventional styles you could ask them to change up their routine a bit in order to get comfortable with discomfort. They could start small with the bus route to work, or they way you drive. It could be around they way they work with their team work about how they approach team meetings or how they interact together. Ask: What’s a new approach we can take doing this? It’s like practicing – by flexing that muscle you get better at doing it.

Redirect Your Thinking with Questions:

individuals who are high in Conventional styles will often ask for quite a lot of detail when they are asked to do something. You might want to suggest that the individual monitor when they go into that state of requesting more and more detailed structure, to hit the pause button and just ask themselves a question like: “How do I want to approach this task what would make it fun for me?”

Catching yourself when you’re doing it and ask yourself a different question that will redirect your thinking rather than searching for an established and acceptable way.

Drop the Unnecessary Qualifiers:

People say things like “I don’t know but maybe if we approach it this way”, or “really sorry to ask this of you but…”. Being mindful of that language and remove the unnecessary qualifiers either in your emails or how you communicate with people face to face. We often write an email and then read back through it and question why we’re putting all this ‘maybe this’ yes and so on. There some degree of politeness we need when we communicate – but check if you’ve gone into the unnecessary zone.

Check Your Decision-Making Authority:

It takes two to tango – and sometimes leaders and managers can be contributing to the Dependent behaviours of those that report to them. If you feel like you’re required to check in frequently and you aren’t empowered to make decisions independently – then it’s worth having that conversation with your manager and clarifying your decision-making authority.

If you are a manager yourself, and you feel your team keep pushing decisions to you – it’s probably a sign that they they’re just not clear on what they can actually make decisions on. Be clear with them on what decisions you have to make as the manager, what decisions they can make independently, and what decisions you have to talk together about. By being clear you give them freedom to operate within a framework.

Rather than Going with a Question, Take a Suggestion

If you catch yourself in the moment that you’re going to check-in with your manager, ask yourself the question: “What do I believe is the best course of action here?”  Then take that to your manager rather than just the open question. This is an intermediate step that’s moving in the direct direction.

Sometimes It’s Just About Having a Human Conversation

People at the really high end of Passive styles might have something going on in their lives at the moment which is driving that kind of thinking. Sometimes they aren’t really in a position to process all the feedback and instead it might be best just to have a human conversation. Be a friend to them, listen to them – doing so might get to the heart of what is really going on for them.

Do you have a question you want us to answer? Email: podcast@human-synergistics.com.au

Listen to more Culture Podcasts:

001: Kick Starting a Passive Team
002: Dealing with Delegation
003: Telling Someone They have a Blind Spot
004: What’s Wrong with Being Competitive?
005: I have a Competitive Teammate – Help!
006: What is a Toxic Culture?
007: How Leaders Impact Culture
008: Is Culture / Climate / Engagement the same thing?
009: My Manager is Resisting Culture Change
010: How the Banks got here
011: Myth Busters: If I’m not Aggressive then I must be Passive
012: How Culture Works Pt1 – Overview
013: How Culture Works Pt2 – Mission, Philosophy, Structures
014: How Culture Works Pt3 – HR Systems
015: How Culture Works Pt4 – Job Design
016: How Culture Works Pt5 – Leadership
017: Rebecca Kardos, CEO Aurora Energy
018: Is Conflict in Teams Good or Bad?
019: Does Teamwork Work?
020: Tips and tricks for LSI Debriefs
021: Can you use the LSI for Recruitment?
022: Dear C.B., My Manager is Cold
023: Passive LSI Action Tips
024: Aggressive LSI Action Tips
025: Breaking Down Silos
026: SuperMind Neuro Science of Creativity
027: Conference Highlights
028: 8 Keys of Team Effectiveness
029: Coaching Questions for Passive Styles


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