33 min
By: ENC Leaders

Episode 8: Leading in Anxious Times, The Leader’s Relationships

Every leader has to work through relationships. We discuss how we can stay connected with others, even when anxiety manifests in the relationship.

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Show notes:

1:50 – Introduction

The leader has to work through relationships, because leadership is about our connection with others. The hard part is when a difference emerges—we then begin to feel anxiety and the anxiety shows up in the relationship.

7:25 – 4 ways anxiety manifests in relationships, according to The Leader’s Journey

  • The issue is anxiety and these are just the symptoms.
  • When you see how you normally respond in anxiety, you can ask: How can I respond different? How can trusting God give me a new set of responses when I feel anxious?
  • When we change our position and response, the other person can change as well.

1. Conflict

The hallmark of conflict in an anxiety-riddled system is an all-or-nothing thinking.

We think conflict is the problem. But when we eliminate the conflict without dealing with the anxiety that produces the conflict, the symptom is sure to recycle itself or show up through a different symptom.

2. Distancing

This is when we withdraw emotionally, when we “keep relationships peaceful, but superficial.”

“A congregation where people refuse to act in a more than superficial level is an anxious system.”

3. Over-functioning and under-functioning

We can identify under-functioning, but we also need to identify over-functioning in ourselves.

We have to let others take responsibility for their actions. That is an act of love.

4. Projection

This is when we project inner anxieties to external reality.- Are we as honest with what’s going on inside of us?

Confess and ask: I’m anxious and I’m worried, Lord. How can I lean in to you? How can I believe and trust you?

19:55 – Common case studies of anxiety manifesting in relationships

  • Case Study 1: Being an over-functioning person- A healthy, non-anxious response: Understanding that when you freely receive from God, you can freely give.
  • Case Study 2: Dealing with a toxic person who projects- A healthy, non-anxious response: Be honest with fears that you may have that are you letting you stay in toxic relationships.
  • Case Study 3: Being in a relationship with a controlling person- A healthy, non-anxious response: Step back. Pause.
  • Case Study 4: Dealing with someone who accuses you.- A healthy, non-anxious response: Lean in. Be curious. Seek to understand.
  • “When any key member of an emotional system can control his own emotional reactiveness, and accurately observe the functioning of the system and his part in it, and he can avoid counterattacking when he is provoked, and when he can maintain an active relationship with the other key members without withdrawing or becoming silent, the entire system will change in a series of predictable steps.”

In summary:

  1. We can control our own emotional reactiveness.
  2. We can observe the system.
  3. We can maintain a relationship with the other key members.

The ENC Leadership Podcast is hosted by Joseph Bonifacio.

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