Tag Archives: Human Behavior

Skilled Helpers Collaborative (SHC) 03/2021: AWARENESS

Did you know, we are the only species who know that they know? Thanks to the development of our conscious we were able to discover this. Hence the choice of this month’s topic. Discover what the Skilled Helpers of this wonderful collaborative project have to say about Awareness…

Resilience, change and even love are topics we as human beings are aware of. In addition, we can be aware of an act, such as being aware of the effort you take each month to read our collaborative articles.The Skilled Helpers Collaborative

The Skilled Helpers Collaborative is an initiative aiming to bring meaningful content to you. Various skilled helpers from different backgrounds sharing their perspectives regarding a specific topic.

Grateful for their willingness to participate in this collaborative project, this month’s contributors are:

  • Mathias Sager -Psychologist
  • Rika Cossey-Transformational Coach
  • KallyTay -Freelance Expert
  • Sujit Gogoi–Career Clarity Coach
  • Claire Rajan-Life Coach & Enneagram Coach

Does our conscious make us aware? Does awareness equal consciousness? Or does being aware have everything to do with mindfulness and / or intelligence? Maybe awareness is a behaviour, an activity or a choice?

Discover what the skilled helpers of our wonderful collaborative project have to say about Awareness. Read the articles below and if it resonates, let us know by leaving a comment.

Don’t hesitate to Connect with one of the Skilled Helpers, in case you could use guidance.

Enjoy this month’s copy! Warm regards,

Patty Wolters

Skilled Helper

www.pattywolters.com

Leadership & (Em-)Power(-ment)

From our ‘80% Percent is Psychology’ session, Wednesday, January 16th, 2019. Thanks all for the great discussions!

  • Force causes counter-force; and transactional leadership likely results in compliance only; It is transformational leadership based on inspiration and collaboration that increases most follower’s involvement and true commitment.
  • It is not the acquisition of power (whether it be positional or personal), but the mindset through which it is employed which determines the nature and effectiveness of leadership.
  • Agile leaders are able to cope with uncertainty and complex issues. Based on self-awareness, they are willing to ask for help and transfer experiences and values to different areas of the business, which is inspiring and developing others too.
  • Representativeness posits that leaders need to demonstrate how they are similar to their followers and then succeed by representing the values of the group. Leaders themselves may be required to adapt to followers to ensure continued representation.
  • Leadership and follower diversity is an important contributor to organization’s success (DuBrin, 2016). Unfortunately, gender stereotypes still cause a preference for men in ‘power’ roles. •Acceptance of inequality doesn’t stem from a passive stance, but rather an active endorsement that allows to justify and perpetuate the status quo.
  • System Justification Theory (SJT) states that an underlying ideology is motivating the justification of social order in a way that contributes to the often-unconscious belief of inferiority most strongly among individuals of underprivileged groups. Although it is a myth that Western Societies are characterized by equality of opportunity, studies found that a majority’s belief in equality helps to justify a meritocratic ideology, i.e., that it is, given we all start with the same possibilities, fair that individual differences are rewarded. The motive to legitimize economic inequality is further blocking critical thinking capacities with severe consequences for the economic and psychological well-being of marginalized persons (Godfrey & Wolf, 2015).
  • It’s a good description for Authentic Leadership too: “Your true character is most accurately measured by how you treat those who can do ‘nothing’ for you.” – Mother Teresa
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Leadership, (Cultural) Threats, and Change

Strong culture – weak culture

A strong organizational culture helps leadership and motivation, but it risks to become too rigid and inflexible. A leader needs to balance the inflexibility of a strong organizational culture with resistance to change from a too weak organizational culture.

Creating the need for change

A leader is analyzing and realizing that there is an unsatisfactory situation, then creates and communicates the required sense of urgency.

Behavior change

Behavior change can be “coerced” but it may be ineffective for positive changes of attitudes, such as solidarity and accountability.

Unfreeze, change, refreeze

People generally don’t like to unfreeze their accustomed situation. To unfreeze and change, change agents should reassure, involve, empower, support, and celebrate change.

“Men have made millions of laws to punish crimes, and they have not established even one to reward virtue”  Dragonetti (1766)

Solidarity and accountability

Payments are not resolving the solidarity problem in a competitive and career dominated environment. Leadership based on self-awareness (e.g., servant leadership) creates a sense of increased meaning, belonging, and promotes accountability and self-leadership.

Resistance vs. apathy

Resistance might be preferable to apathy, as resistance can highlight genuine problems in proposals, and there is an energy that serves as a source of commitment from converted followers.

Cultural context

(Transformational) leadership needs to be fine-tuned according to cultural contexts, such as collectivism/individualism and power distance. For example, on an individual level: low power distance fosters higher emotional commitment to transformational leadership.

Material from the session on January 9th, 2019, 19:30 – 21:00 in Tokyo (at J-Global, Yaesu)

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Inspirational Leadership: Allowing the Soul to be Free

1.Inspirational leadership is a less studied, but holistic concept that centers within the presence of a whole mind that is aware of the being and doing of the self and others.

2.As an inspirational leader who gives ideas to others, investing time and effort into self-development is vital. One can only give what’s inside of him/her.

3.The human side of leadership is fundamental for an inspirational interaction between leaders and followers.

4.The most appreciated leadership aspect is the ability to inspire. The capacity to inspire does result in high employee commitment.

5.Inspirational leaders positively influence employee characteristics, such as independent thinking and pro-activeness. These qualities not only foster innovativeness and drive business performance, but also have a positive effect on followers’ happiness at work.

6.The quest for the ‘Why,’ critical thinking, purpose, passion, and caring emotional intelligence all come from within oneself. Self-awareness and autonomy is the foundation for accessing the source of inspiration. Allow your soul to be free.

7.Authenticity is the core of inspirational leadership. Authentic behavior arises when the ‘who you are’ and the ‘what you do’ are aligned. A genuine and ethical leader differentiates between the true needs of his/her inner being as compared to the many and often conflicting demands and conditions of society.

Slides from our 80% is Psychology event, December 12th, 2018 in Tokyo.

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Personality and Leadership Styles

 

Slides from our event, December 5th, 2018:

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The leader-follower relationship: Theories and related strategies

1.It is crucial to what role models children are exposed. Babies intuitively follow the eye gaze of their mothers. Little geese adopt the first seen subject after hatching as their caregiver (so-called IMPRINTING). And imprisoned children regard the prison guards as their parents to follow.

2.Followers emulate primarily other followers, not necessarily the leader. A movement is made by courageous followers who show others how to follow too. Therefore it is essential to nurture followers.

3.To form a positive social identity (as everybody seeks to), people use self-categorization. According to SOCIAL IDENTITY THEORY, this risks leading to biased social comparison in which people tend to over-favorize one’s own group’s individuals’ positive characteristics while they stereotype and discriminate out-group members having mainly negative traits.

4.PROTOTYPICAL PERCEPTIONS cause people to think that the followers of the group they identify with can be persuaded by information, while out-group followers are mis-perceived as needing to be coerced by force.

5.Individuals who follow a leader against their own moral beliefs or good judgment may do so because they socially identify with the leader and consciously choose to follow his/her MORAL COMPASS.

6.Leaders in a mutually beneficial leader-follower relationship provide public goods to their followership. In return, followers voluntarily pay their costs to the leader in the form of prestige. When leaders gain more relative power, and their high status becomes less dependent on their willingness to pay the costs of benefitting followers, the SERVICE-FOR-PRESTIGE THEORY predicts that leader-follower relations will become more based on leaders’ ability to dominate and exploit.

7.In the phenomena of RECIPROCITY, we should differentiate whether it is about our genuine desire to return favors unconditionally based on feelings of thankfulness, or whether we get trapped into “marketing tricks” that let us act upon feelings of obligation and guilt.

8.A secure ATTACHMENT STYLE helps people trusting in lasting relationships, self-confidentially seeking out and providing social support that empowers themselves and colleagues alike. Insecurely attached people may cause stronger exclusion and exploitation of others.

9.Effective followers as fostered by TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP are those who are not only actively involved, but those who are also critically thinking to influence decision-making and change. Conformist followers who are not challenging the status quo contribute less to innovation and business performance improvement.

10.DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVENESS are vital also from a business perspective because better-connected networks enable more knowledge sharing that is favorable for innovation and improves business performance, which ultimately results in increased profitability.

11.REVERSE MENTORING allows any employees to assume, (informal) leadership roles. Reverse mentoring not only promotes bi-directional knowledge exchange, but it can help isolated older leaders to enter into more egalitarian relationships as well.

12.Utilizing CONSTRUCTIVE HUMOR may be an effective leadership strategy to win trust and commitment from followers as it bridges authority gaps and encourages the both-sided expression of positive emotions even when addressing difficult matters.

 

Slides:

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Leaders are not born, they are made

1.Whether in a formal position, at work or in private, our influence on others is more significant than we think. It may be your today’s courageous example that inspires somebody else even years later to do the right thing as well.

2.To be a leader means to be a continuous learner, and learners are readers.

3.While leadership theories as a relatively young science are becoming ‘smarter,’ there is also ancient and timeless leadership wisdom based on ‘kindness.’

4.Against persistent myths: Leaders are not born, they are made.

5.Do not let you blend by the ‘halo effect’ to conclude that people being good or powerful in one area might be consequently amazing in other areas too.

6.Adapt your leadership style according to the situation and development phase of the people needing direction, coaching, support, or delegation.

7.While transactional leaders make today better by rewarding good performance, transformational leaders are focused on making tomorrow better too.

8.For personal charisma, develop your emotional and social intelligence. As a visionary leader, learn how to visualize an attractive and ideal future that inspires others to follow their heart.

9.A majority of employees is disengaged. Increased participation is required to move beyond consumer behavior. Only with emotional and economic co-ownership will people assume more responsibility/accountability.

10.The administration of existing businesses often leaves little room for leadership that involves the creation of new meaning and change. Differentiate a position-based management career requiring short-term profitability goals versus a self-guided leadership desire to make a difference beyond market considerations in the long-term. You always can be a leader!

11.Always re-evaluate your beliefs in symbols and rules, don’t assume, don’t judge, and listen to people for who they truly are. That’s how you can empower yourself and others to become more free, understanding, and creative.

Slides:

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To be free requires freedom to learn

Thankful for another night being free to learn.

mathias-sager-freedom to learn

 

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The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. – Carl Rogers

10 takeaways from the 80% is Psychology session ‘Learning and motivation’. Tokyo, November 7, 2018.  

Presentation and discussions:

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Beyond the brain (Takeaways from 80% is Psychology)

Takeaways from our event on October 24th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. Please see also https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

Course 1 Session 4 Brain and Memory in Learning_v04_TAKEAWAYS

1.Know that the brain has different chemical processes for addictive pleasure experiences (neurotransmitter is dopamine) versus more long-term, empathic, and self-sufficient happiness-related behavior (neurotransmitter is serotonin).

2.Reduce distractions, especially to avoid over-dependence (addiction) to technology and social networks that interrupt your attention and learning.

3.Increase for how long you are able to stay offline and/or exclusively focused for better learning results.

4.Train your brain through exercising, diet, sleep, and alternative learning strategies.

5.Recognize how your consciousness requires the joint operation of brain, body, and the world. Brain activities may be necessary, but not sufficient preconditions for human behavior.

6.Experiment with stretching your sense of time and thinking of cyclical time. The soul/spirit wants to expand. As the earth is not a plate where you can fall off the edges, time may not be a simple line with birth and life ‘abysses.’

7.Do not fear the future. The brain takes even distantly thought threats for real and causes already now suffering, anxiety, and depression.

8.Do not fear loss. If we are only our physical brain, we don’t need to fear any regrets or pain after death. If there is something more permanent than our brain, death isn’t an existential threat to fear either.

9.Use intuition, imagination, and intention to ‘real-life check’ what really counts in everything you learn: Is it meaningful, unlimited, and purposeful? If not, it’s not worth it.

10.Read to activate your brain, increase the working memory’s capacity, and expand attention span.

 

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Social Learning & Developing a Growth Mindset (7 Takeaways from 80% is Psychology)

Takeaways from our event on October 24th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. Please see also https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

mathias sager psychology social learning growth mindset

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Philosophy of Learning TAKEAWAYS 2018/10/17 (80% is Psychology Series)

Takeaways from our event on October 17th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. For photos, etc., please see https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

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Philosophy of Learning (80% is Psychology Series)

Takeaways from our event on October 10th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions.

10 Takeaways Session 01 1.png

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Nothing Has Changed (Or the Courage to Cease to Insist)

Nothing has changed

Some time ago we did insist on getting privileges
based on the race inherited from our parents

Nothing has changed

Nowadays still we insist on getting privileges
based on the wealth inherited from our parents

Nothing has changed

If in the future we will insist on getting privileges
due to the thinking inherited from our parents

Nothing has changed

Only if today we ceased to insist on getting privileges
through the courage independent of our parents

Something has changed

 


The world produces enough food to feed the planet’s 7 billion-plus people, so why are so many going hungry?* It’s mainly because most hungry people don’t have the resources to grow or buy food.

*1 in 3 people suffer from some form of malnutrition, which means they lack sufficient vitamins and minerals in their diet, which can lead to health issues such as stunted growth in children. Each year, poor nutrition kills 3.1 million children under the age of 5. (http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-global-world-hunger-day-20170528-story.html)

The Tripod Mindset (TM)

mathias-sager-tripod-mindset

Summary

There are individual, organizational, and societal human and technological approaches available today. However, there is little integration of these dimensions into a coherent mindset, educational concept, or cooperative platforms. Therefore, I’ve dedicated the last couple of years to the study of leadership, learning & development, psychology consequently from cross-culturally, multi-disciplinary, and inter-generationally cooperative perspectives. And I’ve performed intensive testing of a, as I think, new discovery of a pattern of the human mind, which I’m calling the ‘Tripod Mindset (TM).’ I have found that three logic matrix-derived socio-temporal conditions put together to a “tripod” mindset would eliminate random, imbalanced, and unconnected ways of traditional and contemporary human thinking in favor of more healthy attitudes and drive for positive human evolution.

Tripod Mindset (TM) Highlights

My background in education sciences, leadership, art, technology, and psychology have equipped me with different perspectives on individual, organizational, and socio-cultural functioning. My navigation between the philosophy of time represented by the past, present, and the future, and the intra-, inter-, and extra-personal dimensions of information and communication (technology) have led me to discover a, as far as I’m aware of, novel and lawful socio-temporal matrix in which our temporal thinking about ourselves, our relationships, and humanity consolidates.

The mapping of thousands of (scientific) resources to the matrix of aforementioned socio-temporal dimensions revealed the striking finding of three coordinates that jointly form a set of mental states that governs human psyche and thriving, which I’m going to call the “Tripod Mindset (TM).” The further study of TM as an interdisciplinary concept shall explicitly consider aspects such as the Internet as a tool for democracy and global citizenship. The time seems to be ripe for leading the way to more distributed and participative approaches including a broader range of stakeholders globally. For example, the TM can be translated into design principles, which would be informing the development of next-generation and more cooperative online platforms that integrate the intra-past, inter-present, and extra-future thought patterns necessary for progressing agile approaches and human flourishing in the virtual and physical world.

Also, the TM could be used to get a balanced view on how sustainable (from an individual and collective point of view) any kind of services and products are. Are they based on a mindset that is backward oriented, protective of the status quo, or facilitating innovation?  What does each of these temporal aspects mean for the individual, the team, and the broader communities’ respectively the human context? The consistent integration of such a coherent “tripod”-stabilized mindset view will guarantee not losing sight of all that is important for true next-generation solutions.

Impact

There are many apt formulations, and rich collections of human qualities proposed to be packaged into so-called mindsets that are deemed to be favorable for individual well-being, organizational performance, or societal functioning. However, looking at worldwide suffering, competitive challenges, and societal issues, there is, apparently, still a lot missing regarding a more holistic, systematically consistent, and continuous awareness that leads to positive human behavior. Technology progress, for example, may enable positive change, but it will not be without a change in human mindset that an improved development and use of technology will occur. The Tripod Mindset (TM) has the potential to inform a new type of guiding principles in sociology/psychology, education, communication, and technology with a disruptive impact on how humanity’s collective mindset, and participative and cooperative policies and economies further develop.

‘Developing Leadership Skills’ online course: Drop me a message for free access.

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Hello All,

As you know from past years, I have been researching, advising, and working with many successful global leaders. I have also read several hundred research papers and books on leadership from a managerial and psychological perspective.

I am very happy to announce that finally, I have converted key learnings into 1.5 hours online course on Udemy. I am glad to give this course for free for an additional 3 days to my social media connected friends. Those who are interested, please drop me a message and I am happy to share 150 USD course for free. Hope you like this little gift!

My course ‘Developing Leadership Skills: Personality, Motivation, and Creativity’

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My course ‘Developing Leadership Skills: Personality, Motivation, and Creativity’

Hello Everyone!

As you know from my blogging activities, I’m doing a lot of research, writing and projects related to leadership and personal development.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been working on my first online course and today it’s officially live on Udemy, the platform for high-quality on-demand online courses!

You can find a description of my course ‘Developing Leadership Skills: Leadership Personality, Motivation, and Creativity’ below as well as in this introductory/promotional video: https://youtu.be/TQQWZCn3R_A 

I am very happy to announce that finally, I have converted key learnings into 1.5 hours online course on Udemy. I am glad to give this course for free for an additional 3 days to my social media connected friends. Those who are interested, please drop me a message and I am happy to share 150 USD course for free. Hope you like this little gift!

If you know of anyone else that’d be interested to learn developing leadership skills, I’d appreciate if you’d share this information with them too.

Thanks so much, and all the best!

Mathias


Course description

The course ‘Developing Leadership Skills’ is a compelling summary of latest research and good practices that may well become your passport to explore new ways of effective leadership styles, increased levels of motivation, and untapped creativity.

Whether you are an HR practitioner, an aspiring or current leader, an executive coach, or a student, this logically structured course will help you in becoming personally and professionally more effective and efficient. You are offered practical tools for insight and understanding of your possible

  • roles in team situations,
  • conflict management style,
  • successful negotiation strategies,
  • stress management,
  • motivation,
  • better decision-making, as well as
  • unlocking of your innovation capacity.

The goal of this course is to make sure you will find answers to the questions that are relevant for personal growth and a thriving career. Compact, straightforward, and with numerous references to further information, the interdisciplinary, innovative, and cross-cultural knowledge and perspectives presented in the twelve short lectures will benefit your well-being and success as a dynamic leader and the common good alike.

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Hope, Living with Uncertainties, and Tolerance for Ambiguity

Summary. In the light of uncertain future threatening outcomes, present ambiguous information often is interpreted more negatively than it would be the case in a safe context. Black-and-white thinking is hindering positive deciphering of ambiguous information. People educated in open-mindedness and who have learned to tolerate ambiguity can better persevere in their tolerance even in situations of danger. Individuals’ dependencies on hierarchical power can cause closed mental systems that are increasingly unable to tolerate differences, ambiguities, and uncertainties. The promotion of hope might be a useful approach to reduce uncertainty intolerance that leaves more room for thoughtful and empathic decisions. It will be crucial how we instill hope and support our children to live constructively with uncertainties while retaining a high tolerance for ambiguity and open-mindedness as required to find the solutions sought for the benefit of all. What are your learnings from uncertain/ambiguous situations and how did you learn to develop a tolerance for it?

mathias-sager-hope-uncertainty-tolerance-ambiguity


The difference between ‘uncertainty’ and ‘ambiguity’

Intolerance of Uncertainty and Intolerance of Ambiguity often have been confused. Although IU and IA are overlapping concepts, they can be differentiated as follows: Intolerance of uncertainty refers future negative events that cause worries, and intolerance for ambiguity refers to adverse stimuli in the present [3]. Also, intolerance of uncertainty is built on the fact that information on outcomes of a situation is missing while intolerance for ambiguity is characterized by ambivalent or conflicting information available on the situation [5].

The effect of intolerance for uncertainty on tolerance for ambiguity

As per the discussion around the article https://mathias-sager.com/2018/06/12/tolerance-for-ambiguity-as-a-gateway-to-leadership-opportunity/ it became clear to me that tolerance for ambiguity respectively Intolerance for Ambiguity might be dependent a lot on context too. Thanks to all the involved for triggering that further research. While having assumed general business situations in times of relative peace in democratic countries in the last article, individual’s behavior in highly stressful (e.g., military) conditions in threatening environments needs to be looked at specifically, including both the concepts of uncertainty and ambiguity. I hope this article can contribute to that discussion.

Tolerance for ambiguity of an individual can be reduced in the context of threat through uncertainty, and especially when there is increased intolerance of uncertainty. In other words, in the light of uncertain future threatening outcomes, present ambiguous information is interpreted more negatively than it would be the case in a safe context [4]. Besides, not only the threat itself but the possibly stronger propagation of stereotyping (e.g., of enemies) might promote black-and-white thinking that is hindering an open mindset as required to positively decipher ambiguous information. People educated in open-mindedness and who have learned to tolerate ambiguity can better persevere in their tolerance even in situations of danger [7].

We generally have a choice between concern and cruelty. But as the example above showed, sometimes not-so-obvious factors influence our predispositions for one of the options because intolerance for an ambiguous situation, induced by threats of uncertainty, may trigger reactions of self-defense based on uncontrolled prejudices. Interviewing perpetrators in the Rwanda genocide revealed that individuals’ dependencies on hierarchical power caused closed mental systems unable to tolerate differences, ambiguities, and uncertainties [10].

Hope and resilience to endure uncertainty

In our times of continued pervasiveness of populations living in environments of war and disasters, resilience is a further important concept. Hope as related to resilience is enabling individuals to imagine a better future and to endure the present despite the uncertainty for such an achievement [9]. That way, the promotion of hope might be a useful approach to reduce uncertainty intolerance and consequently to increase the tolerance for ambiguity for a more open mindedness that leaves room for thoughtful and empathic decisions.

Growth versus safety orientation

Maslow (1968) made the point that we are oriented toward either growth or safety in our everyday lives and that a growth orientation is more favorable for psychological health and well-being [1]. When self-protection (needs) get reduced, self-awareness can arise and facilitate the appreciation of multiple possibilities in situations, which might be the stage of personal development where tolerance for ambiguity as the capacity to accept paradoxes starts to become feasible [2]. Systems of mass conformity, authoritarianism, and nationalism/racism are offered as a means for safety, unfortunately at the cost of growth possibilities through autonomy, creativity, and the use of reason though. After World War II this became evident and powerful movements toward an open mind of tolerance of ambiguity emerged that could cater to both safety and growth needs [8]. It is a function of societies to prepare the next generation for life, and it will be crucial how we instill hope and support our children to live constructively with uncertainties while retaining a high tolerance for ambiguity and open-mindedness as required to find the solutions sought for the benefit of all [6].

What are your learnings from uncertain/ambiguous situations and how did you learn to develop a tolerance for it?

 

References

[1] Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

[2] Hartman, D., & Zimberoff, D. (2008). Higher Stages of Human Development. Journal Of Heart-Centered Therapies, 11(2), 3-95.

[3] Grenier, S., Barrette, A. M., & Ladouceur, R. (2005). Intolerance of Uncertainty and Intolerance of Ambiguity: Similarities and differences. PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, (3). 593.

[4] Neta, M., Cantelon, J., Haga, Z., Mahoney, C. R., Taylor, H. A., & Davis, F. C. (2017). The impact of uncertain threat on affective bias: Individual differences in response to ambiguity. Emotion, 17(8), 1137-1143. doi:10.1037/emo0000349

[5] Kirschner, H., Hilbert, K., Hoyer, J., Lueken, U., & Beesdo-Baum, K. (2016). Psychophsyiological reactivity during uncertainty and ambiguity processing in high and low worriers. Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry, 5097-105. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.06.001

[6] Einwanger, J. (2014). Wie riskant ist Sicherheit? (German). Pädiatrie & Pädologie, 49(4), 33. doi:10.1007/s00608-014-0152-4

[7] Bright, L. K., & Mahdi, G. S. (2012). U.S./Arab Reflections on Our Tolerance for Ambiguity. Adult Learning, 23(2), 86-89.

[8] Rohde, J. (2015). Review of The open mind: Cold War politics and the sciences of human nature. Journal Of The History Of The Behavioral Sciences, 51(3), 343-345. doi:10.1002/jhbs.21739

[9] Wilson, M. J., & Arvanitakis, J. (2013). The Resilience Complex. M/C Journal, 16(5), 17.

[10] Böhm, T. (2006). Psychoanalytic aspects on perpetrators in genocide: Experiences from Rwanda. Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 29(1), 22-32. doi:10.1080/01062301.2006.10592776

Tolerance for Ambiguity as a Gateway to Leadership Opportunity

mathias-sager-tolerance-for-ambiguity

The necessity for tolerance of ambiguity

Today’s professionals need to succeed in technology-rich environments [1]. Information age organizations are characterized by rapid change and uncertainty [2]. Progressing globalization poses challenges through ambiguities that are caused by ever novel, complex, and changing socio-economical, environmental, technological, and workforce factors [3]. The ability to tolerate ambiguity, therefore, is increasingly vital for successful leaders and employees alike [1].

Definition

“The tolerance for ambiguity (or intolerance for ambiguity) construct relates to a person’s disposition or tendency in addressing uncertain situations” [4, p.1]. The concept is also described in organizational behavior as “a coping mechanism for dealing with organizational change” [5].

Tolerance for ambiguity as a performance driver

Tolerance for ambiguity was found to support organizational performance drivers, such as [2]:

  • Mindfulness
  • Receptive for cross-cultural work and collaboration
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Tolerance for failure
  • Taking risks
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Monitoring self
  • Entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial performance, and
  • Managerial performance
  • A firm’s financial and market performance

Importance for (global) leadership

“Dealing with ambiguity is seldom taught, but higher-performing leaders tend to understand that uncertainty can be the gateway to opportunity” (6, p. 30).

Indeed, tolerance (or intolerance) for ambiguity influences one’s behavior and consequently leadership and decision-making style [4]. Studies have found that expatriates high on tolerance for ambiguity adjust and perform better in global work workplaces and cross-cultural environments [3].

Practicing tolerance for ambiguity

Leadership learning and development should adapt to the rapidly evolving business world, for example, by providing innovative learning strategies such as simulations [2]. Potential for improvement and learning progress related to tolerance for ambiguity can be measured with according psychometric assessments and accordingly monitored as a key leadership ability [3].

 

References

[1] Arlitsch, K. (2016). Tolerating Ambiguity: Leadership Lessons from Off-Road Motorcycling. Journal Of Library Administration, 56(1), 74-82. doi:10.1080/01930826.2015.1113063

[2] Brendel, W. )., Hankerson, S. )., Byun, S. )., & Cunningham, B. ). (2016). Cultivating leadership Dharma: Measuring the impact of regular mindfulness practice on creativity, resilience, tolerance for ambiguity, anxiety and stress. Journal Of Management Development, 35(8), 1056-1078. doi:10.1108/JMD-09-2015-0127

[3] Herman, J. L., Stevens, M. J., Bird, A., Mendenhall, M., & Oddou, G. (2010). The tolerance for ambiguity scale: Towards a more refined measure for international management research. International Journal Of Intercultural Relations, 34(1), 58-65. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2009.09.004

[4] Kajs, L. T., & McCollum, D. L. (2009). Examining tolerance for ambiguity in the domain of educational leadership. Academy Of Educational Leadership Journal, 13(2), 1-16.

[5] Judge, T.A., Thoresen, C.J., Pucik, V. and Welbourne, T.M. (1999), “Managerial coping with organizational change: a dispositional perspective”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 84 No. 1, pp. 107-122, doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.84.1.107.

[6] Shullman, S. L., & White, R. P. (2012). Build Leadership’s Tolerance for Ambiguity. Chief Learning Officer, 11(10), 30-33.

The Benefits of an Internal Locus of Control Personality

mathias-sager-locus-of-control

Summery benefits of an internal locus of control

  • Belief in one’s control over their life
  • Improved information acquisition
  • Better decision-making processes
  • Self-efficacy, job effectiveness, and higher achievement
  • Less risk of burnout
  • Generally increased happiness
  • Increase leadership adaptability

 

Rapidly changing leadership challenges

Leadership education has undergone a substantial shift. Life and working world seem to have become more complex with competing urgencies and over-dynamic developments of issues that challenge the required qualities of the next generation of leaders. Leaders today need to be able to find ever-new solutions and adaptations to challenging situations. This can be traced back, for example, to the growing world population and increased growth expectations in all areas of life and economy that cause growth issues in the following six areas [1]:

  • Space
  • Agricultural yield
  • Natural resource management
  • Energy production and consumption
  • Climate change, and
  • Global health

Organizations keep aspiring to increase profits, acting ethically, and promoting community and environmental sustainability. How will it be possible to optimize all these aspects while not doing it at the cost of others [1]? One answer is that it requires leaders who believe they can respond to these challenges in their own capacity, a concept that is coined as “locus of control.”

Definition of internal vs. external locus of control

Locus of control is about a person’s confidence that he or she can control events in their lives. Individuals with an internal locus of control have a strong sense of self-responsibility and that they have the power to change their lives. Externally-controlled individuals believe that they are not in control of their lives and it is instead chance, opportunities, and other individuals and events (i.e., the circumstances) that determine their destiny [2].

According to research, adverse consequences from an external locus of control are heightened levels of intolerance and anxiety, and finally higher burnout rates [4].

Internal locus of control, on the other hand, is associated with individuals gathering more information [3], which improves their decision-making process, effectiveness, and achievement. That internally-controlled individuals benefit from increased self-efficacy is in line with these results. For example, it was found that teams with individuals of relatively high internal locus of control are able of higher performance in a self-reliant way respectively without a leader [5]. Last but not least, people with an internal locus of control generally enjoy more happiness [4].

Adaptation of leadership style

Locus of control is one aspect of personality. Leaders with an internal locus of control can adapt their leadership style as required to achieve the leadership objectives effectively and efficiently [6].

What’s your locus of control?

LEt’s find out more about ourselves. You can find a couple of free online assessments related to locus of control. The following example structures the result along different dimensions of life, such as achievement, career, relationships, and health. Comparing different tests, you will see soon that it becomes quite clear how to distinguish between internal and external locus of control.

http://psychologia.co/locus-of-control/

psychologica locus of control test

Example result overview

 

References:

[1] Andenoro, A. C., Sowcik, M. J., & Balser, T. C. (2017). Addressing Complex Problems: Using Authentic Audiences and Challenges to Develop Adaptive Leadership and Socially Responsible Agency in Leadership Learners. Journal Of Leadership Education, 16(4), 1-19.

[2] Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2007). History of modern psychology. İstanbul: Kaknüs Psikoloji Yayınları.

[3] Boone, C., Van Olffen, W., & Van Witteloostuijn, A. (2005). Team locus-of-control composition, leadership structure, information acquisition, and financial performance: a business simulation study. Academy Of Management Journal, 48(5), 889-909. doi:10.5465/AMJ.2005.18803929

[4] Tas, I., & Iskender, M. (2018). An Examination of Meaning in Life, Satisfaction with Life, Self-Concept and Locus of Control among Teachers. Journal Of Education And Training Studies, 6(1), 21-31.

[5] Akca, F., Ulutas, E., & Yabanci, C. (2018). Investigation of Teachers’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs, Locus of Control and Intercultural Sensitivities from the Perspective of Individual Differences. Journal Of Education And Learning, 7(3), 219-232.

[6] Dumitriu, C., Timofti, I. C., Nechita, E., & Dumitriu, G. (2014). The Influence of the Locus of Control and Decision-making Capacity upon the Leadership Style. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 141(4th World Conference on Learning Teaching and Educational Leadership (WCLTA-2013), 494-499. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.05.086

[7] Cooper, C. (2010). Individual differences and personality (3rd ed.). London: Hodder Education. Retrieved February 3, 2015 from http://cw.tandf.co.uk/psychology//individual-differences- and-personality/

[8] Khan, E. (1998). Carl Rogers, More Relevant Today Than Freud. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from http://adpca.org/publicfiles/library/Carl%20Rogers%2C%20More%20Relevant%20Today%20than%20Freud_Edwin%20Kahn.pdf

[9] Saxena, M. K., & Aggarwal, S. (2010). Developing Emotional Intelligence in Children – Role of Parents. International Journal Of Education & Allied Sciences, 2(2), 45-52.

[10] Banai, B., & Perin, V. (2016). Type of High School Predicts Academic Performance at University Better than Individual Differences. Plos ONE, 11(10), 1-16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163996

[11] Salgado, J. F., Moscoso, S., & Berges, A. (2013). Conscientiousness, Its Facets, and the Prediction of Job Performance Ratings: Evidence against the narrow measures. International Journal Of Selection & Assessment, 21(1), 74-84. doi:10.1111/ijsa.12018

[12] Bertram, K., Randazzo, J., Alabi, N., Levenson, J., Doucette, J. T., & Barbosa, P. (2016). Strong Correlations between Empathy, Emotional Intelligence, and Personality Traits among Podiatric Medical Students: A Cross-sectional Study. Education For Health: Change In Learning & Practice (Medknow Publications & Media Pvt. Ltd.), 29(3), 186-194. doi:10.4103/1357-6283.204224

[13] Boyle, G. J., Stankov, L., & Cattell, R. B. (1995). Measurement and statistical models in the study of personality and intelligence. In D. H. Saklofske & M. Zeidner (Eds.), International Handbook of Personality and Intelligence (pp. 431–433).