Real Leaders

Get on Top of Yourself: How to Recognize Your Disintegration Patterns

“Get on top of yourself.” A colleague muttered this phrase in the midst of an Enneagram debriefing session (note: if you’re looking for a profiling tool for you or your team, this is categorically the best I’ve come across in 20 years of doing this work). It made me think about the importance of maintaining consciousness when leading people.


Headline points:
• The relentless pressure of being a CEO makes maintaining awareness difficult
• Non-awareness of one’s patterns is understandable, but it’s also controllable and can be managed
• Not ‘being on top of yourself’ has real, immediate negative impacts: dark behavior patterns; ego dominance; and lack of discipline

So what does ‘staying on top of yourself’ amount to? The technical term (using Enneagram language) is being integrated v. being disintegrated.

Here are three simple tools to help:

  1. Knowing how it feels when you are disintegrated is the most essential and clear sign: the former feels settled and grounded; the latter feels edgy and nervy, and there’s not as much in-between as you might think …
  2. Knowing your disintegrated patterns is important (panicky, cranky, scattered, fractious, etc.) as the same patterns will likely show up in you until you one day leave this mortal coil
  3. Having a way to step away, re-set, and re-integrate by way of a repeating practice (walking, clearing your diary, getting coaching, leaning into a confidant) is helpful and easily doable

The point is that all CEOs will disintegrate at some point or another – there’s no shame in it. But, just like the most challenging part of getting back into shape is getting that first trip to the gym done and dusted, so it works the same for CEOs: the slip into disintegration is pretty easily reversed.
But only if you have the above tools in place.

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