Types of BOXES in the Workplace

When working in a team, we operate either from a Self-focused Mindset or an Impact-focused Mindset (The Arbinger Institute, 2015). Operating from a Self-focused Mindset or ‘being in the BOX’ can look like the following:

Scenario: You’ve been assigned a task. The deadline is approaching. You are struggling. You need support.

Worse-Than BOX: I’m no good. I can’t perform even if I’m trusted to perform. I hope nobody finds out I’m struggling, or else what will they think of me?

Need To Be Seen As BOX: I can’t let people find out I’m struggling, or they won’t trust me. I need to protect myself. I won’t ask for help. I’ll do it on my own.

Scenario: When the deadline has passed, the supervisor gives feedback.

I- Deserve BOX: This supervisor didn’t even sense how much I struggled. He doesn’t know how to support me. I deserve so much respect for the effort I put in despite my challenges. These people don’t appreciate my efforts and only look for ways to bring me down.

Better Than BOX: Who is this person to give me feedback? They don’t even provide the necessary support and now want changes to the report! How unfair!

Question for Reflection:
Which of these BOXES can you most resonate with?


The Arbinger Institute. (2015). The anatomy of peace: Resolving the heart of conflict (2nd ed.). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.


Sagar Satyal

Sagar Satyal is co-founder at My Emotions Matter and can be reached at [email protected].