Recently I participated in an informative and enjoyable Luxoft training session on “The Art of Public Speaking,” and I would like to share with you a useful framework we learned about that day. The framework identifies several patterns of destructive behavior that one can encounter when taking part in meetings, making presentations, or speaking in public - in other words, when dealing with groups of people.


The framework presented on the training does the following:
  • Groups patterns of destructive behavior into 4 categories
  • Provides clear parameters for each category
  • Suggests an appropriate ameliorative approach for each category.
The first group is centered around the “Will for Attention” behavioral pattern:
A person exhibiting this behavioral pattern might act in the following way(s):

  • Do some side activities involving a group to see what he/she is engaged in
  • Be on his or her phone or laptop, and constantly comment on what he or she sees or is reading there
  • Ask questions not related to the topic at hand
  • Tell anecdotes, narrate long, amusing stories, etc.
How to identify this behavioral pattern:
  • If you feel annoyed when dealing with the person during an event, it means he/she is demonstrating “will for attention.”
What you can do:
  • The obvious first answer is, give the person the attention he/she needs
  • Ask questions
  • Inquire about the person’s opinion on the topic at hand
  • Emphasize his or her input to the conversation or situation
  • Directly explain to the person what you think he or she is doing
The second group is the “Will for Power”
People demonstrate “Will for Power” behavior by the following:
  • Arguing with the person holding an event
  • Showing strong signs of disagreement, or expressing disagreement directly, with a speaker
  • Interrupting the person in charge
  • Questioning authority, etc.
How to identify them:
The “will for power” will call forth a response from you of wanting to force the person to do something.

How to respond:
  • Agree with the person
  • Tell the person that his/her opinion can be also correct
  • Assume that your approach can have drawbacks: there is always room for improvement.
  • Ask his or her advice or an action plan
  • Share more responsibility and obligations with them
  • Delegate important activities to them
The third group of behavioral patterns is the “Will to Escape”
This type of behavior is exhibited through the following:

  • Insisting that he or she is not able do something, is not skilled or suitable for a task
  • Constantly requesting assistance
  • Avoiding responsibility and obligations
Happy to “share” their job responsibilities with another team member, etc.
How to identify it:
  • You feel a strong urge or need to help a person when he or she exhibits the above-mentioned behavior.Steps to take:
  • Encourage them to move forward
  • Reassure the person that she has necessary the skills and knowledge to do the task
  • Use motivation and reinforcement to get them to make the first step toward the goal
  • Monitor the situation to make sure that he is able to manage the situation using his own resources.
The fourth group of behavioral patterns is the “Will for Revenge”:
One can identify this behavioral pattern by the following signs:
  • The person is constantly making jokes at your expense
  • Picking apart your words
  • Trying to humiliate you or others, etc.
How to identify them:
  • If you feel pain and distress when dealing with the person during an event, you are dealing with someone exhibiting the “will for revenge.”
Coping methods:
  • Apologize and say you are sorry. It’s possible that you inadvertently neglected or offended the person, even if you can’t remember specifically how.
Please note that when identifying and managing these behaviors, the behavior should be consistently displayed; you cannot diagnose a behavioral pattern on the basis of one incident or remark.

Summary Table:
Pattern Identification To Do
Will for Power You want to force Agree
Will for Escape You want to help Encourage
Will for AttentionYou feel annoyed Give attention
Will for Revenge You feel painSay sorry
Svetlana Mukhina
An Agile coach and a trainer at Luxoft Agile Practice. She has over fifteen years of experience in IT as a delivery manager and department head. She is currently working closely with delivery managers, teams and businesses, performing project assessments, providing teams and individuals Agile coaching, creating and conducting trainings and workshops. She enjoys observing how a new concept or approach is internalized and waiting for the “A-ha” moment to arrive. She is passionate about showing innovative and useful tools to teams and individuals, and loves helping make their daily tasks less burdensome and more fun.