Independence

“A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.”      Chinese Proverb

 

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Independence  is the ability to be self directed and free from emotional dependency on others. People who demonstrate a healthy level of independence are usually willing and able to choose their own course of action. They are comfortable making decisions on their own knowing that at times people will disagree with them. They take initiative and feel confident doing so yet they avoid damaging productive working relationships by excluding others when making decisions. Being independent also means freely expressing emotions. Independent people don’t need reassurance or a group consensus to say what they feel.

If your independence is low

People with low independence are susceptible to the influence of colleagues and superiors. They might be resistant or uncomfortable if required to work autonomously. In conversations or meetings, they may find themselves adopting the same emotions as others in the room or easily conforming to others’ decisions. While this can give the impression of being a great team player, it is at the expense of neglecting their own independently generated ideas.

Strategy to develop greater independence

Dependency on others may result from a lack of self-confidence or fears of being perceived as “being not …. enough”. Removing the fears and barriers will create a space to take accountability for your own decisions and actions. Work with the coach to understand the reasons for your dependency.

If your independence is too high

Being overly independent may sometimes bring low results. Overly independent people may be seen as arrogant or come across as not needing any help from anyone. They must be cautious not to neglect the emotions and opinions of others and keep a close eye on how often they make decisions unilaterally, rather than building coalitions.

Strategy to develop if you are too independent

Securing Buy-In

Effective, independent professionals don’t march off in their own direction hoping that others follow; they balance self-directed thought with the ability to secure buy-in and support from key relationships.

- Examine past decisions that were not well supported by your colleagues. What did your decision-making process look like? Where might securing buy-in have broken down?

- Brainstorm ways that you can involve others in your decision-making process. The ultimate decision or plan may rest with you, but it will be easier to gain support when others feel empowered throughout the decision-making process.

Assertiveness – are you a good lawyer for yourself?

 

one caucasian lawyer man in studio isolated on white backgroundAre you a good lawyer for yourself? Can you articulate your opinions, your emotions, and your needs while demonstrating respect to other people? If yes, you possess a great skill – Assertiveness. Assertiveness 
involves communicating feelings, beliefs, and thoughts openly, and defending personal rights and values in a socially acceptable, non-offensive, and non-destructive manner.

Picture a line between the words passive and aggressive: At the middle point of this line lies assertiveness, a place where you work with others by finding the right words at the right time to express yourself.

 

Advantages of being assertive 

People who have the skill to find the right words at the right time to get their point across in a clear and confident manner are seen as self-confident. They allow others to see where they stand on a decision or on the matters at hand. They have a better chance to achieve their goals by articulating their needs.
At the same time they view the rights and opinions of others as sacred and in this way foster relationships.

What if you are too passive on the assertiveness scale? 

Scared business man hide himself under the office deskThe tendency to keep your thoughts inside may lead you to feel exhausted, frustrated, or even angry that you are on your own dealing with your unvoiced opinions. You may ruminate over bad decision your boss made, the “crazy” plan that someone created, or that coworker who took credit for your work. It’s as if all this occurred without your approval or your input, and yet you are left wanting to say so much. You could also be seen as lacking initiative, particularly if you are low in independence. Your great ideas may stay hidden from your team and as a result you will not be as enthusiastic about others’ ideas or committed to following their directions.

What if you are too aggressive on the assertiveness scale?

Businessman shouting through megaphoneIf you tend to pull on strong emotions and convictions to state your position, you may miss important information or feedback that may alter your perspective. If you easily cross the line from assertiveness to aggressiveness, you might be seen as stubborn, or arrogant lacking flexibility in your thinking. This can result in unproductive behavior and damage relationships.

 

Strategy to develop if you are too passive 

Overcoming Fear.

A common reason for overly passive behavior is the fear of losing something as a result of speaking up. Identify the last three times you were passive (meetings are great places to start). Then, brainstorm all the possible:

1. Positive and negative results that could have occurred had you been more assertive.
Most of our fear comes from an exaggeration of bad consequences.

2.  Think of situations when the good consequences outweighed the bad.

3. Identify when similar situations will be occurring in the future. These will be relatively safe opportunities for you to practice being more assertive.

Strategy to develop if you are too aggressive

Crossing the Aggression Line.

If you have a rather strong assertiveness, you need to be particularly cautious that your behavior doesn’t work against you or harm your relationships.

1. Set up a few rules for yourself that you will follow when your behavior starts to cross the line into aggression. For example, interrupting others in a meeting is a sign that you are no longer being respectful. If this happens, a rule could be “Openly apologize to the interrupted person and be silent until it is your time to speak.”

2. Seek feedback from a trustworthy person. How did this person view your way of communicating?

Working with a coach will facilitate the exploration and developing process. Book a 30 minutes free complimentary session to test how coaching for Emotional intelligence works.

Self-actualization – putting your strengths to good use

 

advance on a career ladder

 Self-actualization can be summed up in three words: pursuit of meaning. Self-actualized people put their strengths to    good use, personally and professionally. They are committed to the ongoing development of their talents and abilities. In the business world, this means finding purpose and enjoyment in your job and performing to your fullest potential.

 

 Disadvantage of scoring low on Self-actualization

People who score low on Self-Actualization fail to leverage their personal strengths and often appear to be disengaged. They may come across as a person whose internal fire has gone out. In turn they may be seen as lacking drive the vision to achieve something greater than their current status. An unfulfilling job and untapped potential may lead to stress and emotional exhaustion.

Advantage of scoring high on Self-actualization

Self-actualized people are likely to experience harmony knowing that their talents are being put to good use. Should a setback occur, they can bounce back quickly knowing there is a greater purpose behind their actions. People who have a drive for self-actualization are often perceived by others as being deliberate and purposeful. Their internal fire of fulfillment lights them up from inside.

Strategy to develop Self-actualization

To light your internal fire and keep it going

1. Discover Your Passion: What fulfills you? When are you at your best?

Identifying activities that you are truly passionate about will provide the direction and purpose to your life. If you are unsure of the answers, meeting with a career/life counselor or a coach may provide insight.

2.Protect Time for Your Passion

Examine your schedule: are you satisfied with how much time you spend doing things that light your internal fire? If not, make one or two changes in your timetable. Start small, changing your schedule in 15-minute slots to slowly integrate enriching activities. Finish big, organizing your life around your passion.