What benefit is it to the organization if short-term goals are met but a leader’s behavior contributes to employee unrest, sabotage, or high turnover with loss of skills and knowledge? Leaders must be aware of how their behavior impacts on the motivation and performance of their employees. A lack of self-awareness is the greatest hinderance to effective leadership.

How leaders expect others to behave determines how they themselves act toward them. If they have negative expectations (beliefs) about someone, their behaviour will reflect how they feel, and they are likely to get the behaviour they expect. This, of course, can severely impact performance outcomes.

Successful management of our own behaviour and that of others can greatly facilitate our working relationships. When we have established effective working relationships, we can anticipate successful outcomes in the planning, managing and reviewing of performance. In order to do this, we need to understand the dynamics of behaviour.

Behavior is something somebody does, something that is observable, and something that is measurable. A major premise of performance management is that as a leader, it is important for you to concentrate on observable, measurable behavior.


We have two options to how we react to the behaviours of others. The first and natural response is to perceive this person as a threat and respond in a self-protective fashion. But this type of response serves only one purpose – to preserve and protect the us from our perceived threat. Self-protective responses isolate us from the threat. They are survival responses designed to preserve oneself or one’s self-image. They take us nowhere except back to where we were. Or they may serve to keep us from losing our ground. As such, they are static “back-to-ground-zero” type responses.

Self-protective responses serve only the needs of the person protecting themselves. As such they are non-negotiable. They do not contribute anything to the relationship because they do not encourage dialogue. After all, we cannot have a meaningful dialogue or negotiation with someone who is trying to control us, attack us, give in to us, or avoid us.

Our second option in the face of change is to perceive change, not as a threat but as a challenge and then to respond in an self-actualizing manner. Self-actualizing responses start with recognition of the legitimacy of the other person’s position. We may not agree with them but we accept it as deserving consideration.

A self-actualizing response responds to reality – the way things are – not the way we wish them to be. It takes the other person into consideration. A self-actualizing response is a problem-solving response that tries to meet the needs of the other person as well as our own. This approach makes involvement unavoidable. And with involvement comes risk. The risk is that the other person may actually influence us. The Self-protective person will not take that risk. The Self-actualizing person does.

But where there is risk, there may also be reward. The reward is to grow, to develop, and to enrich oneself, to discover a new and better alternative – in short to change, to meet the challenge of the initial change itself.

In summary, the extent that we are able to avoid self-protective responses makes us more prepared to cope with change and the unexpected. Thus whoever can remain open, accepting, and willing to negotiate seems more prepared to deal with the challenges that leadership offers.

This developmental process begins with these three steps:
 Knowing where we are – in a self-actualizing or a self-protective response mode
 Recognizing a self-protective response as a normal, human response
 Working to avoid being Self-protective habitually – a life style of self-protectiveness

Using the Strivng Styles Personality System can help you understand the behaviors that you will naturally use when you are self-actualizing or self-protecting. Knowing your predominant need and how you behave when this need is not being met can help you align your behavior with your desired outcomes and stop unwanted behavior from undermining your leadership abilities.


Anne Dranitsaris, Ph.D brings a lifetime of study, psychological savvy and hands-on clinical experience to helping people become who they are meant to be. Her interest in creating mental health coupled with her interest in personality systems and the dynamics of human behaviour has influenced the development of Striving Styles Personality System™. With a profound interest in human psychological and personality systems, she built a thriving psychotherapy practice. Her approach had a strong psycho-educational perspective focusing on the interplay between personality systems and thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviors; finding patterns of self-protective behavior that limit the capacity for achieving one’s potential. She later integrated the world renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program into her practice opening an holistic psychotherapy center with a focus on using mindfulness training in a therapeutic context. Seeing how her clients were affected by their leaders and workplace culture, Anne became one of Toronto’s first Executive Coaches in the late 1980’s. She could see the direct application of the therapeutic tools into the corporate world, which drove her to expand her work into that realm. Anne began using the title of corporate therapist to indicate the depth with which she worked with leaders and teams developing emotional intelligence, behavioural competence, and relationship skills in organizations. She has also uses her unique approach to work through dysfunctional relationships, partnerships, teams and boards. This approach included assessing, educating, training, and coaching to develop greater self-awareness, awareness of others, improved team dynamics and overall corporate functioning. A prolific and frequently cited writer on the impact of behaviour, emotional intelligence and personality styles in the workplace, she has written a series of books on personality type based on Jung’s theory of Psychological Type. The Personality Profile Series© books are used to help individuals in coaching and counseling to understand themselves, their environment, their partners, and their children. Her latest series of books, The Jung Typology series, focuses on understanding the impact of personality type on employees, teams and leaders. Striving Styles Personality Assessment has been prominently featured in the media, on radio, television as well as in a wide range of national and international publications including USA Today, the New York Post, Huffington Post, The Toronto Star, NOW Magazine, Globe and Mail and TIME.com where Dr. Dranitsaris was referenced in November 2009 as one of Oprah’s next protégés. Additionally, her work has appeared in three issues of “O” Magazine within the past year, with her article on Striving Styles being including in the “O” Annual as one of the year’s top articles.
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