Care Bear Vs GI Joe – The art of communication in the workplace.

My husband and I make a point of going on frequent dates and having team meetings to plan our lives. We also end up having great philosophical conversations about the work I do as a coach. He is an industrial project manager and has that clear and concise, no wasted time approach to work, and recently we got on the subject of communication.

We were discussing his work, and communicating in an industrial environment. He said it in a great way. “There are some people that need the GI Joe approach like – your a bad dog. Barking at them gets them hustling, and let’s them know you want serious results. Some people will have a cry with this approach and need a care bear hug to perform well, and know they are being respected and looked after.”

I loved this analogy. When I think of so many places of work over the years, I saw that so many managers and staff had no idea of the finesse that can be executed with the right approach to communication.

The Newfield Network School Of Ontological Coaching has a great approach to this, and it was one of the key concepts that I share with all my clients.

They chose four dispositions to communicate from:

Resolution, Strength, Openness, and Flexibility.

These four dispositions when practiced and used, can be an amazing tool for communicating in the workplace but also in every day life.

Resolution – Is the ultra focused, Samurai approach. The body disposition if you were to embody the idea of it is like a boxers stance, fists up, tense all over and with a laser point focus to the eye’s and intention.

An example would be the focus of a competing athlete, or a leader when things are falling apart at the seams. This is not a negative way of being and communicating, but certain words will be used to go with this, they will be clear, concise, and no fluff (GI Joe category)


Strength – Is the solid strength of the mountains or like the steady, calm and controlled reign of a king and queen. An example would be someone of authority leading a meeting, or a hiking guide sharing their knowledge of their surroundings. The body would be strong and stable legs, eyes ahead, calm and controlled. (GI Joe category)

Openness – This disposition is used by artists and visionaries, or high performing teams. The body has soft eyes, a slight smile on the lips, the heart and arms are open. (Care Bear Category)

Flexibility – The adventurers, the dreamers, and inventors. This is the category of the outrageous. The body is unpredictable, changing and moving all the time, in a fun and flexible way. (Care Bear Category)

When you think of these dispositions, it really is an amazing tool to use with those around you.

Do you have someone that you always find hard communicating with? Or someone that always seems to misunderstand you or take you the wrong way?

Think of what category this person falls into in a general sense. Then think how you normally approach them. Now just for the hell of it, try to really embody a different disposition from above, and I guarantee the results will be different.

When we truly practice these dispositions they have a completely different feeling. Body stance changes, and language choice shifts, therefore offering very different results. And a very important point – you will be heard differently.

Lets say you have a manager who is so busy he/she can barely keep all their ducks in a row. This person most likely spends their workday in resolution. They will be ultra focused, on a time line, and will be clear and concise. This person if interacting with someone in openness or flexibility, will come across, short and gruff, and in all honestly the listeners will most likely be feeling like they want to quickly get out of his/her way and either perform out of fear, or generally feel ruffled.

Yet if this person in resolution knew he/she was talking to the “care bear” category, and made a shift into openness, the results would most likely be that the care bears felt excited, heard, and would want to perform because they felt nurtured.  This is a completely different result.

The point is we live and communicate with these dispositions all the time. If we can master them ourselves we can be a way better communicator in and out of work and be an effective conductor of our own world.







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