What is your default setting?

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A novice Microsoft Word user will open a blank document and begin typing.  He or she completes their fantastic document and realizes that their most favorite font is Calibri.   They highlight the entire document and move from the “Default” of “Times New Roman” and change to their preferred font.  After about 100 times, a friend notices their process and says “Do you realize that you can change the default font to “Calibri” from “Times New Roman?”

Your brain works in the very same way.  Your behaviors have a default setting.  Your thoughts have a default setting.  Your routines are like a default setting.

Unlike the way Microsoft Word works, we cannot always control our default setting within our brain.  We often start our days in a self-protective mode.  It can take hours or minutes to move to positivity, abundance, strength and vision.  It will typically default to a setting that is about self-preservation, protection and fear.

Take heart, your brain can be trained to focus on things like positivity, productivity, process and vision.  It has to do with the gray matter found in between your ears. The gap is about self-preservation, protection and fear. .

A leader in self-preservation mode may be allowing their brain to function in what Edwin Friedman calls “Reptilian Function”   This is evident in three distinct ways:

First, the self-preserving leader always gets involved in interfering in the relationships with others.  They often find themselves in a business love triangle.   A mediator, a messiah and a nurse sent by others to change that person or solve that problem.

Second, they are always working to covert people to join their point of view vs. staying clear on their vision and process because the goal is not about conversion it is about fulfilling the vision, building relationships and allowing the results to develop over time.

Thirdly, they are unable to relate to people who do not agree with them.   A leader riddled with anxiety cannot handle individuals that stand up and share their ideas, thoughts and perspectives.  Those are viewed as risks to the captive leader.  The well differentiated and strong leader embraces those that are different and finds ways to invite others to join and connect in the process or develop their own vision.

A recent e-book by Hogan Assessments, shared that stress is Killing American workers. In fact, 80% of American workers indicate that they are stressed out at work.

Much of this stress is tied to the employee’s direct boss.  52% of people describe their boss as Arrogant and another 50% describe their boss as Manipulative.  In fact, 75% say the most stressful part of their job is their immediate supervisor.

Leaders you can influence your team positively by moving from the default setting of anxiety, fear, stress and worry to abundance, process, vision and purpose.  This will have a strong impact on the stress level of your team.  This is about being a well differentiated leader that moves their default from fear to strength, from worry to vision, from outcomes focused to process reliant and from self preservation to interconnectedness.