Leadership Styles

Excerpt From The Art Of Managing: Environment

Jane Treber Macken asked:

Our environment and relationships in our life affect who we are today. Up until we begin school, our families have the biggest influence on our lives. Our basic personalities are formed by the age of three, and we develop into little human beings by the age of six. Once we begin school, teachers and friends begin to influence our behavior. It’s amazing how others believe that they see what we should or should not do with our life better than we who actually planned our life’s lessons. Each of us goes through life fulfilling our dreams and other’s expectations. It is our dreams that bring us the most rewarding experiences. Think back in your life when you were happiest…it was when you were fulfilling your dream.

A child’s base personality is formed during the first three years of life. My dad was an alcoholic and my mother was a rage-aholic. These behaviors result in the “pleaser” and “acting out” type of behaviors in the children. I was the former and my brother was the latter. As a “pleaser,” I continuously had to prove my worth and would not let myself fail. I have observed a tremendous number of women in management who were “pleasers” and who had a fear of failure. Understanding your parents lives helps with your self-development.

As a daughter of an alcoholic parent, I was codependent which is defined as the lack of Self or ego development. It involves strong negative programming against anger, wants, and beliefs. People who are codependent look to external validation for self-worth. It’s about living from the outside in, molding oneself to fit around others’ lives instead of directing the course of one’s own life from internal cues, hopes, dreams, wisdom, and power.

As an adult I did not feel good about myself, had difficulty trusting people, was unable to identify my needs and allow them to be met. During the summer of 1991, I felt my whole world collapsing. Family members and I could not communicate without anger. I was in a second-level management position and my employees banded together to tell me what they did not like about my leadership style-inflexibility and lack of compassion or caring for others. I felt rejected by family members and work associates. The more I tried to please, the worse things got. I began working on Self. I began psychotherapy for the primary goal of coping with anxiety, anger, confusion, and a diminished sense of well-being with a secondary goal of modifying my behaviors and working toward becoming an empathic and compassionate person. On the surface I appeared self-sufficient and self-actualized, but I was truly depressed and suffered deep emotional pain. I was hard driving, workaholic, self-righteous, enabling, controlling, and in denial. Do you know people like this? You may see these characteristics in first-level supervisors and mid-level managers. By working on Self, these people will be able to have more caring and compassion for others just as I have done.

It is my dream that “The Art of Managing…How to Build a Better Workplace and Relationships” can help you achieve your goals and dreams.

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