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Defences in the Workplace

We all have them and at some point, we let them run away on us.

Defences in the workplace is an emotional response or lack of response individuals and teams employ to protect themselves from perceived threats, criticism, or discomfort. These defences have the ability to manifest in various forms, often hindering us in effective communication, collaboration, and productivity. Recognising and understanding these defences can be tricky, however is crucial for fostering a healthy and inclusive work environment. When given the tools on understanding and managing our defences it can be night and day the next time we are confronted or triggered.

One common defence mechanism in the workplace is denial, where individuals refuse to acknowledge their mistakes or shortcomings, fearing judgment or consequences. This can lead to a lack of accountability and an erosion of trust within teams.

Another prevalent defence is projection, where individuals attribute their own negative traits or feelings to others. For example, a team member who feels insecure about their abilities might project those feelings onto a colleague, accusing them of incompetence instead.

Defensiveness can also manifest as passive-aggressiveness, where individuals express hostility or resistance in indirect ways, such as through sarcasm, procrastination, or subtle undermining of others' efforts. This behaviour has the ability to derail team dynamics and erode morale if left unchecked.

Fear of feedback is another common defence mechanism in the workplace. Employees may resist receiving feedback, fearing it as a personal attack rather than an opportunity for growth. This fear can stifle constructive dialogue and impede professional development.

Additionally, perfectionism can be a defence mechanism, where individuals strive for unattainable standards to shield themselves from criticism or feelings of inadequacy. While striving for excellence is admirable, perfectionism can lead to burnout and hinder collaboration as individuals become overly focused on avoiding mistakes.

Overcoming defences in the workplace requires a concerted effort to cultivate a culture of psychological safety, where employees feel comfortable expressing themselves authentically without fear of judgment or reprisal. This involves fostering open communication, providing constructive feedback, promoting empathy and understanding, and encouraging a growth mindset where mistakes are viewed as opportunities for learning and improvement.

By addressing defences head-on and creating an environment where individuals feel supported and valued, organisations can unlock the full potential of their teams and foster a culture of collaboration, innovation, and success.

During our Radical Collaboration workshop we explore the 50 Signs of Defences, to understand where they come from, what they mean, how we get there and what tools we can adopt on how to manage our future reactions and behaviours for greater collaborative, open and transparent interactions.

To avoid disappointment, register and reserve your spot today!

Defences in the Workplace

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