Identifying the Leader’s Attachment Style: Understanding your Energy and Motivation

Attachment is about how you respond to distress, and the adaptive patterns of how you react are your attachment style. Attachment style is an energy that is both internal and external of how you respond to your team and organization. This episode is explicitly about studying your energy and motivation, and the energy and motivation of the people you lead.

 Distress triggers energy in your body to resolve the distress. Most people don’t know their go-to strategy when the attachment energy in their body is triggered, but how leaders handle this energy significantly impacts the success and efficiency of their team. Some leaders have a pursuer style, their body would instead mobilize others to join them in meeting the distress head-on because the fear of being stuck in the unknown is worse than the unknown or isolation. Other leaders have more of a withdrawer style. The body of a withdrawer style leader does any number of strategies to diminish the fear of meeting the distress head-on and things getting out of control seems like an unreasonable risk. These are two broad categories to describe how we handle the energy generated in these moments. We need to note that no one is absolutely in one or the other—we are all mixes of both. Neither is inherently a problem. The problem is when we don’t recognize both sides of them, and you become rigid. We want you to be aware of these strategies to help you be able to adapt as needed and to be more productive. A reactive leader creates insecurity in the organization. A secure leader creates safety and gets more results.

 Homework and Challenge

  • Review a time of distress you had recently, and you felt an energy shift that let you know something serious was going on. What did you feel your body want to do with the energy?
    • Was your go-to strategy meant to dampen down to keep things from getting out of control?
    • Was your go-to strategy meant to lean in towards the distress to find a solution because not having a resolution is more distressing?  
  • Ask 3 of your reports, “What is it like to be on the receiving end of my leadership?”.

Thank you for listening. We hope this experience helps you push the leading edge in your work to help people connect with themselves and with each other. 

 You can contact us at, and you can follow us on our Facebook page @pushtheleadingedge(

 Ryan Rana, Ph.D., LMFT, LPC, ICEEFT Supervisor/Trainer

  • You can follow Ryan on Facebook @ryanranaprofessionaltraining and on his website

 James Hawkins, Ph.D., LPC, Certified EFT Therapist/Supervisor in Training

  • You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram @dochawklpc. You can also check out his website

You can see our EFT training Schedule at

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