Leaders are one of the most responsible of all the Striving Styles. When they are fully engaged with the holiday season, they act as though it is their responsibility to make sure everything runs smoothly and everyone has a good time. They work very hard during the season to ensure it does as they get pleasure from and feel most in control when they are working. They are often popular people because they make things happen and will be found where the action is – at family, community, neighbourhood and workplace events. They try to make sure they make an appearance everywhere they have been invited, despite the cost to themselves and sometimes their family.

They generally enjoy the season, especially when they can get everyone on board to do it the way they believe it “should” be done. Their dominant striving need is to be in control and they have a tendency to jump in and take over, whether they are asked or not. They expect others to go along with them and in family situations, often everyone does.

Given that they have strong opinions about everything and are often convinced that their way is the right way to do it, they don’t have a lot of tolerance for anyone who isn’t interested in following them. For example, Jerry, a successful executive and father of 2 girls planned and scheduled the holiday season right down to time for wrapping presents. When the girls were young, they followed his plan and the holidays generally went off without issue. He had everything under control, right down to the expectation that everyone must have fun, and they generally did. However, there was no room for doing it differently or opting out of any of the activities.

Then the teenage years hit. Jerry was challenged about why everything had to be done his way by his girls. “Why did we have to do everything his way” they demanded. He responded in a number of ways – using guilt, anger and finally threats to try to restore control. He felt hurt and misunderstood by their accusations that he didn’t care about them but was unable to share that with them. Finally, he began to realize that he had only fostered compliance and his wife and children resented not having more say in how they spent the holidays.

Leaders don’t always recognize that they are not going to holiday functions to enjoy themselves. They show up and “work the room. They plan, organize and strategize how everything will be done and expect everyone to do it. It is easy to see why they feel so misunderstood when people get angry with them for being so controlling. Leaders just don’t understand where others are coming from and usually respond to emotions by denying that there is truth to what others are saying.

The striving to be in control extends to the Leaders needing to control their emotions and those of everyone else. The holidays are full of excitement, disappointments, surprises, conflict, laughter and tears. Leaders lose out when they try so hard to keep everything under control that the emotions they feel most are anxiety, impatience and frustration because they actually can’t keep everything under control.

For Leaders like Jerry to really enjoy the holidays, they need to develop the capacity to listen to what other people would like to do. It is often difficult for them to acknowledge that not everyone is like them. Others actually don’t want to go to every party they are invited to, nor do they feel compelled to follow the family or religious traditions of the season. Others can help by not being afraid to challenge the Leader, advocating for what they need, calmly and rationally. Then not letting the Leader try to overpower or guilt them into doing what they want.

Learning to approach the season using mindfulness – the ability to focus in the present moment; non-judgmentally; with acceptance of what is can be a lifesaver for Leaders. Using mindfulness tools, Leaders learn what they actually want to do, rather than taking on the job of organizing a successful holiday project plan, budget included. Letting go of their predominant striving to be in control allows them to meet their other needs: for companionship, love and appreciation for what others bring to the season as well.

Author's Bio: 

Anne Dranitsaris, Ph.D, brings a lifetime of study, “psychological savvy” and hands-on clinical experience to helping people become who they are meant to be. Her interest in creating mental health, coupled with her interest in personality systems and the dynamics of human behavior, has influenced the development of the Striving Styles Personality System.

Holistic Approach to Learning

Driven by a vision for a holistic approach to emotional and physical health, Anne chose educational pursuits that aligned with her passion. At the same time, she studied at mainstream universities such as Ryerson (Business Management), University of Toronto (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Religious Studies) and ADR Institute of Ontario (Alternate Dispute Resolution). Anne looked for training institutes that would help her integrate the cognitive, emotional and physical approaches to healing the mind and body. This education included: receiving her degree as a Registered Massage Therapist; graduating from the International School for Spiritual Sciences (Montreal); psychotherapy certification from the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy (D.C.T.P); studies at the Masterson Institute for Disorders of the Self (New York); and a Ph.D. in Therapeutic Counseling from the Open International University for Complementary Medicine (WHO).

Committed to lifelong learning, Anne has completed postgraduate programs in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Spiritual Self-Schema Development, Brain and Behavior and Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i), and she has been a long-time follower of the work of Carl Jung. Anne continues to stay educated and informed about recent advances in neuroplasticity, brain development, mindfulness and social intelligence.

Executive Coaching & Corporate Therapy

Anne became one of Toronto’s first Executive Coaches in the late 1980’s. She could see the direct application of the therapeutic tools to the corporate world, which drove her to expand her work into that realm. Anne began using the title of corporate therapist to indicate the depth with which she worked with leaders and teams developing emotional intelligence, behavioral competence and relationship skills in organizations. She has also used her unique approach to work through dysfunctional relationships, partnerships, teams and boards.

Prior to starting SKE, Anne built several successful companies including Sage Developmental Resources, an organizational consulting firm focused on behavioral alignment, and the Centre for Mindful Therapies, which offered customized Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Programs to organizations and individuals. In addition, she worked extensively with Heather on Several global leadership development initiatives for Caliber's clients, providing both individuals coaching and facilitating high performance team development at the executive and senior management levels.

Sought After Writer

A prolific and frequently cited writer on the impact of behavior, emotional intelligence and personality styles in the workplace, Anne has written a series of books on personality type based on Jung’s theory of Psychological Type. The Personality Profile Series© books are used to help individuals in coaching and counseling to understand themselves, their environment, their partners, and their children. Anne's latest series of books, The Jung Typology Series©, focuses on understanding the impact of personality type on employees, teams and leaders.

Anne has been featured in the media — on radio and on television — as well as in a wide range of national and international publications including USA Today, The New York Post, Huffington Post, The Toronto Star, NOW Magazine, The Globe and Mail and TIME.com. Additionally, her work has appeared in three issues of “O” Magazine within the past year, with her article on Striving Styles being included in the “O” Annual as one of the year’s top articles. She has recently been contracted to write for an upcoming issue of “O”.