The etiology of good and bad leaders and lovers: It’s all about trust.

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

(This is Part I in a two-part blog on why we lead and love the way we do.)

Trust issues develop at birth (yes, really) when a baby has been tagged as “difficult” or “easy” or “slow to warm” (yes, these are technical terms). Chess and Thomas combine their medical and psychological expertise to not just describe these babies but show implications for later on in life – be thinking leadership and love-ship challenges here.

Roughly 40% of babies will display an easy temperament; 10%,  difficult and 15%, slow to warm, and now we get to wonder about the remaining 30% of children who do not fall into any of the three identified types. Because temperament is defined as the early-appearing variation in reaction and emotional reactivity, it’s easy to envision social development playing out according to how others (parents in particular) respond to these early behavioral patterns. Luckily both biological and environmental factors work together throughout development so we’re not blueprinted by genetics alone.

If you think about it, parents tend to be more nurturing and engaging when their child is behaving in a way that the parent experiences earning an A+ I trustworthiness rather than a D- in trustworthiness. Thus, the cycle begins for the less tolerant parent having a difficult child become more difficult. However, lucky for the patient parent who helps the difficult child become less difficult. Then somewhere in the literature you’ll see indeed some difficult children don’t respond favorably to the most skilled and nurturing of parents.

(Funny how this is starting to sound a little like leadership here, whereby some difficult employees ultimately get fired after not responding to various measures intended to help.)

You are the sum total of all of your past experiences, and now you are the grown-up version of how you did it as a kid on the playground, only now the playground is more expansive and the equipment more expensive. The bullies and the bullied are still there, few of them trusting the other, yet they all have every opportunity to change. That’s why you want to say “Yes” at any growth opportunity your place of business offers you.

Stay tuned to our next blog for Part II, whereby we’ll offer another “why we lead and love, trust, and don’t trust the way we do” lesson. The good news is that this stuff is not a blueprint for life. We are ever-changing, dynamic beings with a myriad of methodologies to support our journey into greater success and life satisfaction.

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