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Attachment styles have been evolving with the person during his or her life. An attachment style can change, if you are a person who has a fearful attachment style at the beginning (because of many reasons we will explain below) that does not mean you won't become a secure attached person one day. However, even if it's possible to change an attachment style, it will be really difficult because attachment styles have been created since you were a kid.
The four attachment styles have consequences regarding the professional life of people. A secure attached manager will not have the same way of leading as a dismissive attached manager. We will develop that after concentrating ourselves on how attachment styles are created.
What molds attachment styles
Attachment styles are created during childhood, influenced by parenting
Infants are a bundle of emotions (intensely experiencing fear, anger, sadness, joy). The emotional attachment that grows between the child and his or her caregivers is the first interactive relationship of his or her life. This bonding determines how the child would relate to other people throughout his or her life, because it established the foundation for verbal and nonverbal communication in his or her future relationships. The relationships between infants and their parents is responsible for shaping the success or failure of future intimate relationships, the ability to maintain emotional balance, the ability to enjoy being ourselves and to find satisfaction in being with others and the ability to rebound from disappointment, discouragement and misfortune.
Indeed, parents are seen as caregivers by their children, they personify security. If parents take well their responsibilities, children will feel comfortable in their relationships with others and themselves. They will be relaxed and secure when talking to the others, not being afraid of closeness. It's worth noting that children will enjoy being autonomous, taking risks. In other words, they will
Develop meaningful connections with others
Want to explore the world
Deal with stress
Balance their emotions
Create positive memories and expectations of relationships
Parents don't have to be perfect, they don't have to always be in tune with their infants' emotions, but it helps if they are emotionally available a majority of the time.
On the contrary, if parents are inconstantly responsive to children's needs, infants could take that personally and feel insecure. It takes root when a child's attachment bond fails to provide the child with sufficient structure, recognition, understanding and safety. These insecurities may lead to
Tune out and turn off (avoidance of any close, emotional connections; as adults, children may become physically and emotionally distant in relationships)
Remain insecure (if parents are inconstant or intrusive, children will become anxious and fearful, never knowing what to expect)
Become disorganized, aggressive and angry (when a parent's behavior is a source of disorientation, infants may be insensitive to the needs of others)
That will bring children to develop uneasiness in their relationship with themselves and with the others, sometimes straight to an avoidance of relationships. Unfortunately, parents will make their children grow in an insecure attachment style, such as dismissive, fearful or preoccupied.
Attachment styles are related to adolescence development
It is important to point out that attachment styles are related to adolescence development.
A study was supported by grants from the Spencer and William T. Grant foundations, and from the National Institute of Mental Health. This study consisted in testing the relations between attachment styles and psychosocial functions in teenagers' minds. Researchers chose a sample of 131 teenagers with their parents and peers. Families were scheduled to come to an office for two three-hour sessions. Researchers asked questions to the families and analyzed their answers. The conclusion was that adolescents who were relatively more able to talk about attachment experiences in ways that reflected balance, perspective and autonomy were more likely to be socially accepted by their peers and less likely to experience internalizing symptoms.
It is also worth noting that we can analyze development of attachment styles in adolescence through emotional adjustment (in other words, we can talk about ego development), social competence (that is to say whether you are a talkative and extravert person or not) and concern for others' welfare. Those three elements are precursors of an adult relationship competence, emotional intelligence and transformational leadership.
Attachment styles are defined by cultural backgrounds
The cultural background in which a child is raised influences a lot the specific behaviors of secure and insecure attachment styles. There are variations in parenting norms across cultures in Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America (even if parents from all these continents agree to say a securely attached child is the best thing).
Culture influences the value that mothers, families and communities place on children, as well as the value they place on the role of being caregivers. Moreover, parents' beliefs and values regarding child development, and the roles of parents, influence the choices they make about raising children within the constraint of their culture. As an example, Asian parents and American caregivers raise their children totally differently. In Asia, the Confucian philosophy influences a lot the way Asian parents raise their children, they have a restrictive and harsh education, whereas American parents think teaching independence to their children is really important. These cultural differences influence parents' expectations at every stage of their children's development.
Furthermore, children may display different attachment behaviors according to what is considered culturally appropriate within a particular community. They may demonstrate secure attachment in different ways depending on the expectations placed on them and the understanding of secure attachment within a particular cultural group.
The effects of attachment styles on one's professional life
Adults with different attachment styles behave characteristically differently in the workplace.
Securely attached people
Securely attached people could be effective global and diversity leaders, effective or transformational leaders. Indeed, they are well balanced and they are really competent in leading an international team. We can point out some of their professional characteristics.
They create a collaborative communication. Thanks to their high social skills, they have a great ability to talk to people, listen to them when they need it, adapt to different cultures thanks to their openness. They are opened to negative feedbacks, because it is important for them to know what people think about their work, they don't take those negative feedbacks personally but it's more a way to improve themselves and improve the teamwork
They have a high level of personal competences, beginning with high social and communication skills (as it is one of the most important competence you need to have when being the leader of an international team)
They handle conflicts constructively, as they are not afraid of them. Actually, they use mutual conflict styles of integrating and compromising. It is worth noting that they are perspective-takers in a conflict situation, in other words they have the ability to see others' points of view)
They are task-oriented leaders
They are not afraid of success
They use problem-focused coping, meaning they take control over stress, they seek for information (individual trying to understand the situation and putting into place cognitive strategies to avoid it in the future) and they evaluate the pros and cons of different options dealing with the stressor
They have a good anger management. Indeed, they are not anger-prone and they do not attribute negative motives to others.
As an example, securely attached military recruits were nominated as leaders more often by their colleagues than were preoccupied recruits.
Secure attachment can be seen as the foundation for the relationship competence and open-mindedness of cross-cultural competence as well of transformational leadership.
Dismissive attached managers are usually chosen for critical management positions, most of the time in top management more than in middle management.
They are certainly work-oriented. As a matter of fact, they have a high work involvement, they are frustrated when not challenged and recognized at work and they seek to achieve performance standards.
They are task-oriented
They lack the relationship competence of the cross-cultural leader. It is important to point out that dismissive leaders are not satisfied with interpersonal aspects of work; they always prioritize work over personal relations.
They use defensive-cognitive strategies in problem solving and stressful situations. These are self-protecting strategies, as dismissive managers do not like people contact.
They are not much perspective-taking
Dismissive managers are more personalized charismatic leaders more than transformational leaders like secure attached managers. In other words, dismissive attached leaders exploit followers for personal gain, not to create real relationships.
Preoccupied and fearful adults
Preoccupied and fearful attached managers are less likely to be chosen as leaders by their peers.
They use defensive rather than adaptive coping strategies
They always are ready to drop everything, they are not task persistent at all
Their issues in their personal life impact their work; they cannot take things into considerations
They are not effective concerning processing information in complex situations