A Coaching Power Tool Created by Tobias Demker
(Leadership coach, CHINA)
I believe it is fair to say that all of us have a need to feel safe. Actually if we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we can see that it is one of our most basic needs. Each individual is also unique in one way or the other, and for many of us it is important to show how we can distinguish ourselves from others.
Sometimes when we are facing a problem or a challenge, it’s worth thinking about what we want to get out of the situation. “What about the outcome is most important to you?” It might be that we want to feel safe and ensure that we come out of the situation in one piece. At other times, we see an opportunity to be more creative in a situation to try something new, or do something differently to come up with a unique result.
By choosing the later, there might be some risks involved, and there are likely to be some appealing benefits as well. Exploring this area might be of great interest for the client.
We all carry with us some assumptions, which are having impact with us in different ways. One of my assumptions has been: “people will like me if I fit in”. Therefore I have occasionally found myself in situations where I didn’t really want to be. I put myself in these situations because I wanted to fit in with a group, and my assumption was that they would not like me otherwise. Growing older with increasing self-awareness, I realized that this was of course a false assumption. And even if people didn’t like me, why should that bother me so much? I can’t force everyone to like me, and I can’t make everyone like me either!
I find it interesting asking myself the question: “What’s at risk being unique?” To my delight, the answer is more and more often: Nothing. So by asking myself these kind of questions, bringing in the perspective of staying safe vs being unique, I find myself being more self confident, more authentic, more creative, acting with more integrity, doing more meaningful things etc.
By asking questions about creating something unique, it might also be that we are able to release some positivity in a situation. If we want to create something unique, we have to search further for different opportunities, and really tap into our creativity. If we find ourselves in a situation we perceive as overwhelming, it is quite likely that we will want to stay safe, and such be more resistant to tapping in to that creativity. It might initially seem as something energy draining and risky. However, if can tap into the positivity of being unique, there is a chance we might be willing to start looking for creative solutions.
Business and leadership
In most business environments, competition is fierce, and organizations are constantly trying to identify their unique competitive advantage to differentiate themselves from the competition. Such uniqueness becomes a vital element for survival for many organizations.
It is commonly said that leaders get the culture they behave. Therefore, this can be a very interesting perspective to bring up with leaders. Creating some clarity how they are being unique, and maybe more important to allow others to be unique, and then harvest the opportunities.