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How can discomfort improve leadership performance?

"It’s a relief to be called out on your contradictions ... Once they have air we can change ..." Lori Gotleib



Click on the picture to watch my THREE minute Vlog, and learn how my client is using discomfort to improve his performance.



When an external person holds a mirror up to our problematic behaviour it often highlights our inconsistencies, and this causes much discomfort.


Cognitive dissonance is the term coined by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954 to describe “the feeling of psychological discomfort produced by the combined presence of two thoughts that do not follow from one another.” (Harmon-Jones & Mills, 1999).


The research suggests that people have an inner motivation to keep their thoughts consistent, and thus they may engage in problematic behaviour like lying to themselves or others.

In extreme situations the internal discomfort may manifest in the inappropriate expression of strong negative emotions, like the times when my client shouts. Therefore, often if we don’t address our contradictions, in a safe and honest way, they will haunt us.


On a positive note, in my coaching work I often teach my clients how to use their discomfort to drive long term positive behaviour change and become better leaders.



References: more are available on request https://psychcentral.com/blog/fighting-cognitive-dissonance-the-lies-we-tell-ourselves/ The psychology podcast: 184 Maybe you should talk to someone. https://scottbarrykaufman.com/podcast/maybe-you-should-talk-to-someone-with-lori-gottlieb/ Dissonance reduction as emotion regulation: Attitude change is related to positive emotions in the induced compliance paradigm Cancino Montecinos, Sebastian; Fredrik Björklund; Lindholm, Torun. PLoS One; San Francisco Vol. 13, Iss. 12,  (Dec 2018): e0209012. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0209012