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The Balancing Act: Your Shadow and You

Updated: Feb 29

As humans, we gravitate toward things that make us feel good. We like to think about things we do right. Things that are appealing to others. Things that make us proud of ourselves. We love "sunny days" when all is well with the world and we have success at work, school, home life, health, etc. During these moments, it is easy to be confident and communicate well. We are motivated and make logical decisions. This is our "sunny day & everything is great" leadership traits.

What some have not yet come to realize is that there is an unconscious part of ourselves that also has some traits to share. These traits are on stand-by for a gloomy day, or maybe even a gloomy hour, and believe me, they will let themselves be known as soon as there is a chance of rain. Some of these traits are:

  • Difficulty trusting others

  • Arrogance

  • Being conflict-averse

  • Overly cautious

  • Indecisive

This is called our "shadow", and yes, we all have a shadow. The shadow is unconscious but ever present. To deny this is to deny your true self.

If we have not yet met our shadow, then the shadow holds all the cards to our behavior.

Think about it; If our leadership traits only shine when all is well, then our shadow is in control. We are unbalanced. The shadow is just lying dormant. Life is not made up of great situations. In fact, it is during the difficult times that we grow and learn new things. To help us better understand the shadow, we start with what motivates us.

The Three Types of Leadership Styles:

The Affirmer is our generous leader with a strong need for affiliation; the natural "people person" with tremendous empathy and desire to lead others with compassion. An affirmer is nurturing and has a calming energy.

The Achiever is our dedicated leader with a strong need for achievement; Failure is not an option. They can hyper-focus on details and lead others to produce accurate results because they do things "the right way".

The Asserter is our dynamic leader who is motivated for power. This person is always striving for more, leads with a very candid energy, and drives results as if the worlds existence was at stake.

All three styles are excellent and admired leaders. One is not better or greater than the other. Each holds unique strengths. The goal is to become actualized so we can lead with our whole selves, on good days, great days, and yes even bad days. In the book, "Actualized Leadership: Meeting your Shadow and Maximizing Your Potential", Dr. Will Sparks gives us an in depth leadership framework to help us understand this level of actualization.

If you are ready to get started on becoming an Actualized Leader, I am here to coach you along the way! Shoot me an email and we can get started on this journey together.

Are you an Asserter, Achiever, or Affirmer? Click here for the free version of the ALP assessment to find out.

The key is not to hide our shadow. The key is to balance ourselves when our shadow is triggered so we can continue to be great leaders when situations get difficult.


Author, Erin R. Price

Leading & Coaching Individuals & Teams;

MBA; Leadership & Change Professional; ALP Facilitator

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