Leadership Competencies and Capacities (Part 5)

January 30, 2012 -- Sal Silvester

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

Limiting Internal Beliefs: Complying

The Complying Dimension measures the extent to which you get a sense of self-worth and security by complying with the expectations of others rather than acting on what you intend and want. Complying behavior suggests that you tend to relinquish power to others and to the circumstances of life. You tend to see the world as full of powerful people who can control or protect you. Because of this belief, you tend to submit to those in power and comply with their expectations. You do this to gain safety and win approval. You tend to equate personal worth and security with meeting and living within others' expectations.

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

  • I am okay if people like me.
  • I am worthy when others approve of me.
  • I need to live up to others' expectations to succeed.
  • I can stay safe by supporting others.
  • The world is a dangerous place. Caution makes me safe.
  • Loyalty, harmony, and getting along to get along protect me from disapproval.

Leaders with these internal beliefs tend to have a constant need to please others, belong, be sensitive, needed, and liked. They often say "yes" when they really want to say "no," double check with authorities before taking action, couch their language so that others will not have strong emotional responses, and cautiously manage what they do to stay in the good graces of others.

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?

Stay tuned for our final post in this series where we'll help you create your path forward.

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