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What is your relationship with uncertainty?
Does increased volatility affect your leadership? What does ambiguity bring out in your personality?
When I work with leaders and teams, one of the first questions I explore is their relationship with the unknown. Understanding how we instinctively self-manage in times of stress provides a glimpse into some of the oldest and deepest aspects of our personality.
The Leadership Circle Profile provides visibility into this dynamic by helping leaders answer the question: "How are my default behaviors and mindset (particularly during times of uncertainty) enabling or constraining my intended impact and our business performance?"
The Reactive tendencies of Complying, Protecting, and Controlling serve as an internal anxiety management system. Based on the work of Karen Horny, our Reactive patterns evolved in childhood to help us manage (and survive) the unpredictability and anxiety that is life.
According to Horney, this basic anxiety is solved in one of three ways: moving against, toward, and away from people or stressful situations.
All three are perfectly normal and healthy responses. Sometimes, a person may need to be assertive and stand against others. A period of reflection and withdrawal may be more appropriate at other times. At different times, being able to move toward people is the best reaction (Horney, 1946).
Often, however, these strategies become solidified, and as we mature into adults, they become a dominant way of operating during times of prolonged uncertainty - common conditions for senior leaders.
Take a moment to reflect on your own "anxiety management system." Which tendency do you exhibit under stress? Under what situations might you overextend this strategy into a liability?
Moving toward - Complying (self-effacing compliant solution)
◦ Need for affection, harmony, and approval.
Moving against - Controlling (expansive, assertive solution)
◦ Need for power, control, recognition, or prestige.
Moving away - Protecting (withdrawal, detachment solution)
◦ Need for self-sufficiency, independence, and unassailability.
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