How Do Core Patterns Influence How We Lead?

Core Patterns

Core patterns play a significant role in how we lead

The core pattern has implications on how we live, work, and create results. When talking of core patterns, we are referring to patterns that have existed in our lives for a very long time. These are patterns that we have practiced for years. They were established years ago in our families of origin.

Some of us have seen adults practice these patterns, therefore we have them in ourselves. Some of us have got explicit messages around some of these patterns.  We have adopted some of these messages into our own personal narratives. These patterns I articulate below are from the world of Transactional Analysis and from a theorist called Taibi Kahler. TA is a fantastic psychological framework for understanding self and others.

The messages from our family, culture, the media, and people of influence are usually about 

  • How to be and how not to be.
  • This is good or this is not good. 
  • This is how you succeed or how you may fail if you do the opposite.
  • This is how one needs to take care of oneself.

All these messages become part of our own patterns and behaviors for the rest of our lives. At times it is unknown to us the many messages we have absorbed and now live by.

The 3 core patterns described below can be limiting when we disregard our needs and put pressure on ourselves to show up each day. We become ineffective and live a life of stress.  It directly affects our leadership abilities.

Pattern 1: Being pleasing all the time

To be a leader is to be fearless and to speak up about things that matter and are hard-hitting. It is essential to speak about things that need to be said. The need to be pleasing always and care immensely about what others think of us often derails us from what is actually required to be said by us.  

We experience difficulty with assertive communication and do not feel strong enough to hold our own in an argument. It takes skill and practice to break this corn pattern of being pleasing.

 Do you identify with some or all of these?

  • Have difficulty in saying no.
  • Don’t want to feel guilty.
  • Don’t wish to disappoint others.
  • Fear, conflict, and desire to keep the peace.
  • Want people to like us and feel uncomfortable when they don’t.
  • Our plate is full, but still, we allow others to put something new on it. 
  • We are overloaded but we’re still smiling and going along.

This pattern has a lot of difficulties connected with leadership, self-care, and doing what is important to us. There may be times when we actually want to do something for ourselves. But, other people’s needs take over and we cannot say no. We want to attend to their needs, and all of our own needs meet dust.

We deprive ourselves while pleasing others.

Being pleasing really creates a problem because our deprivation becomes even more as we’re not attending to our own needs. This leads to exhaustion and a lack of self-care. We feel low about ourselves and can experience ourselves as having low significance in comparison to others. 

Pattern 2: Being strong all the time

Of the many pressures leaders are often straddled with is the constant need to appear strong and breeze through everything on our plates.  We invest energy in appearing capable all the time and not appearing vulnerable. We do not value networking and end up doing a lot of work all by ourselves.

Have you experienced any or some of these before?

  • Difficulty in asking for help.
  • Don’t wish to feel weak or obligated.
  • Don’t have the language to ask and make requests.
  • Fear dependency and being seen as needy.
  • Rest only when sick and unavoidable.
  • Cannot ask for care and nurturing easily.
  • Always want to be seen as capable and in control of the situation.

We all want to be strong all the time therefore, we find it difficult to ask for help. We don’t ever want to feel weak or obligated. We have difficulty making requests to others or we don’t have the language for the same.

Few of us cannot ask for care and nurturing even while we are sick. We want to be seen as efficient,  capable, and on top of things all the time.

The downside of this is that we are constantly doing and striving for efficiency. We constantly want to see ourselves as capable while in reality, we may desire something else like calm, rest, solitude, etc. 

Pattern 3: Being Perfect All the Time

The idea of perfectionism at all times is detrimental to our leadership journeys. No matter how far we go and how much we do there is always another level of perfection or superbness that is possible. Hence we choose to strive so much that we don’t feel good about ourselves or what we achieve. Another dimension to perfect leadership is the imposter syndrome and the fear of failing. Essentially we end up fearing that others will find out that we don’t have it all together.

Do you see some of these in yourself?

  • Indulging in micro-management.
  • Difficulty to delegate.
  • Difficulty to put with others’ standards.
  • Feeling weighed down by having too much to do.
  • Desire to be seen as producing the best all the time and nothing less is acceptable to self.

Can you imagine how tiring this expectation of perfection from the self can be?  Not every situation requires perfection but yet one strives. We cannot accept a less perfect self. It drives us to a maddening extent and the people around us too face the repercussions of this. The constant need for perfection takes away the sense of fulfillment of achieving something.

This results in us not taking care of our needs for use and some downtime.   We don’t give ourselves permission to do something that we actually want and need. The desire for perfectionism is a perfect cause for pushing self-care to the back burner.

These patterns are like red signals. These red signals don’t allow us to move forward when it comes to self-care.

How can the Green Signals help us?

Green signals allow us to move forward. These are the permissions that we give ourselves which are essential to help us keep up with our self-care practices.

It is useful that we give ourselves these permissions as a reminder at the start of our day. Doing this sets us up for dealing with the day in a more balanced way. Our teams begin to increasingly be seen as balanced and respectful. We manage boundaries better and become more clearer about where to focus our energy. 

Leaders who lead with this sense of balance are respected and admired. Teams take them as role models.  

Being Pleasing Vs Pleasing Myself Being Strong vs I Can Take Support Being Perfect Vs Good Enough 
Many times I do what I need. I will ask for help. I can accept lesser standards in myself and in others.
My need is as important as others. I will learn to make requests. I can make mistakes and learn from them.
I can say no with respect and care. I will accept care and nurture. I can delegate and still get things done.
I can say yes to myself. I can rest my mind and body. Many times what I produce is good enough.
I am important. Collaboration brings me energy and drives my creativity. I can keep updating myself.

Consciously, breaking these three patterns adds ease to our style. Aligning ourselves with our needs changes the way we act. It allows us to speak with clarity and conviction. These actions take us a step closer to a future that matters to us. 

Which green signal do you wish to adopt to change the core pattern?

Do read this blog where I speak more about how self-care is the foundation of self-leadership.

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