Most of us often find ourselves acting out in irrational behavior for no reason. “What do you mean I’m saying ‘yes’ when I should be saying ‘no’?” “I don’t think this report is good enough, I’m going to work harder to achieve my own goal.” It’s like the urge to do the opposite of what we normally would drive us at times and is uncontrollable to stop.
The reason for this semi-frustrating mental takeover is your “attachment style”.
It dictates how you relate to other people, what triggers stress and how you act upon those factors. So when a situation arises, your relationship with the other person may cause you to act differently compared to the traditional you. Romantic partners, children, parents, and even co-workers can trigger these behaviors.
But how do you identify your own specific attachment style? I’ve broken it down for you based on a study from time management coach, Elizabeth Grace Sanders.
Anxious Preoccupied Attachment
To sum this style up, it’s primarily a fear of upsetting others. It’s entirely driven by fear or even doubt. Your anxious brain automatically jumps to negative conclusions, and you become focused on them until they are resolved. A good way to determine that this style is the one you have is to notice that you have two time management struggles. One is that you feel your attention is taken from you when your success is perceived as a threat. The second one is that you constantly feel a negative bias. For example, compulsively checking emails to make sure everything is okay or feeling that every time you make a mistake you will be penalized for it even when it isn’t your fault.
Fearful Avoidant Attachment
There is only one word to best describe someone with this form of attachment – “stuck.” They have fear yet don’t have the confidence that they can make things right. It’s as if they don’t trust their own position or the system and are almost doubtful of their day to day work. They also avoid a lot of responsibilities, get distracted and push it aside out of fear to complete the project. If you spend most of your time at work being overwhelmed and feeling like you have no power to face your fears, this is probably you.
Dismissive Avoidant Attachment
Those with this attachment style tend to think they are smart and everyone else isn’t as intelligent. They are always the most superior in the room. Often entitled, they decide what they do and may ignore others’ opinions. As a result of this behavior, others may attempt to micromanage them which only causes more frustration and rebellion. A huge sign of this trait in a person is that they don’t follow deadlines and don’t prioritize work that is important to others.
Those with secure attachment take things as they come. They do whatever they can to address issues and work hard with little to no fear. They don’t hesitate to say no when they know they need to and know what they are capable of doing it. Additionally, they are confident in their people reading skills to know how others will respond to them. To sum it up, they are great at managing time and are comfortable prioritizing tasks and asking for assistance. The key words are confidence and comfortability for those who identify with this style.
Our attachments styles aren’t the only factors influencing our behavior and time management. However, they do play a significant role in our day to day lives. For a lot of people, it almost seems like a power struggle or lack of self-esteem or confidence. If you want to try changing how you act in the workplace (especially to become more effective and eliminate any fears), try to act against what you feel like doing.
Obviously, every decision is situational and how you react varies. So you could find yourself with a few different attachment styles depending on if it’s specific to certain tasks you aren’t comfortable with yet or something you’ve been doing for so long you already know you’ll nail it. It’s all about balancing strengths and weaknesses and trying to improve those skills in areas you may need it most. Once you identify your style or styles, taking the next step to mentally address it and provoke change is easy.
Image credit by Brooke Cagle