Leadership Competencies and Capacities (Part 4)

January 26, 2012 -- Sal Silvester

In this series of posts, we have been exploring leadership development from two perspectives - competencies and capacities. In our last post, we focused on the limiting internal belief of Controlling. Today, our focus is on Protecting.

Limiting Internal Beliefs: Protecting

The Protecting Dimension measures the belief that you can protect yourself and establish a sense of self-worth through withdrawal, remaining distant, hidden, cynical, superior, and/or rational. Essentially, people stay safe by acting aloof and maintaining distance in their relationships. Safety means being above it all. This stance can come from an inner lack of confidence, self-doubt, inferiority, or its opposite superiority. It may well be that you project an air of superiority, needing to be right, find fault, and put others down as a strategy to build yourself up.

There are a number of internal assumptions that people with high Protecting tendencies use to organize their identity.

  • For me to be right, others have to be wrong (or vice versa)
  • I am worthwhile if I am right and find the weaknesses in others
  • I am valuable because of my superior capability or insight
  • I am not good enough
  • I am safe and acceptable if I remain small, uninvolved, and avoid risk

Leaders with these internal beliefs are often seen as acting superior, cynical, and faultfinding. And, these tendencies are often intertwined with a strong streak of self-criticism and self-doubt causing you to hold back from making your full contribution, not asserting yourself and playing small.

Do any of these internal beliefs above describe you? How are they impacting your leadership effectiveness? What can you do to challenge those internal assumptions? What would be the impact?

In our next post, we'll explore the next limiting belief - Complying.

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