Some are born to greatness, but often greatness results from relationships.
This point was brought home when exploring relationships of first line managers (FLMs) with their staff members. At issue was attachment anxiety: the extent to which people approach their working relationships with an edge of anxiety. High anxiety means that relationships with others always have an edge to them. The risks seem more evident than the potential rewards when encountering people at work.
When considering a relationship of two people, there are two possibilities for consistency: they could both be high on anxiety or both low on anxiety. There are also two possibilities for inconsistency: the FLM could be highly anxious while the staff members have low anxiety or the other way around.
So, for staff members to feel effective at their work, is it necessary for:
1. both staff members and their FLM to have low anxiety, or
2. as long as either the staff members or their FLM are low anxiety, the staff members can feel effective, or
3. it just has to do with the staff members: as long as they have low anxiety, they will feel effective?
The results, in the graph, is Option 1.
The only relationships in which staff members reported high levels of efficacy were those in which both the staff members and their FLMs scored low on anxiety.
It looks like anxiety anywhere in the supervisory relationship gets in the way of feeling effective.
What’s your experience?