You know that leader who annoys you more than anyone else – the one you can’t believe got to their level? He likely has a primitive and impulsive ego that needs to be repeatedly reminded of how wonderful he is to feel good about himself or he’ll erupt, pout, manipulate or control.
Inside is a little child screaming for attention who feels very unsafe.
When that child gets triggered to feel the feelings she desperately tries to avoid, her behavior turns hurtful and dangerous. She’s tired – exhausted from the lack of self-acceptance that haunts her. He’s shattered at the thought that someone might actually discover how unworthy he is.
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Unconscious defense mechanisms are deployed. And worse yet, without mindful self-awareness, she might not even realize any of this. So, she keeps putting on the take-no-prisoners exterior, feeling less than enough, drained and victimized. Sad.
Don’t engage. They are in the fight-flight-or-flee mode of a scared child. They will be meaner or more manipulative than you could ever be because to them this is survival. To you it is just an instance. Don’t allow them to put you in fight-flight-or-flee because they will likely win.
You can point out their behavior which often will de-escalate it. “I recognize that you seem very angry (frustrated, persecuted, resentful) right now.” It forces them to look at themselves not you.
It is good to recognize that our own ego has a place in our behavior the same way it does in people who are hurting and hurtful. Your ego is your sense of self-esteem or self-importance. A heathy ego helps you navigate the world with rational thinking.
The next time you feel an urge to lash back, argue, withdraw, or any other behavior that strips your executive presence pay attention to your behavior, take a very deep breath and say to yourself, “Oh, this is just my ego being primitive. I don’t feel unworthy, so I won’t act that way.”
Wishing you the quiet clarity of a calm soul who takes a deep breath and affirms yourself when you notice your own ego and inner child screaming out. “May I be gentle with myself in this moment. I release my need to argue or win. I deserve all that is good. I accept that I am safe and effective.”
For more executive presence tips here’s a link to my new FREE eBook – 31 Executive Presence Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World.