Could Your Relational Attachment Style Impact Business Development?

What is an Attachment Style?

There are four different relational attachment styles, and they relate to the self and interpersonal interactions. Which one reminds you of yourself?

  • Secure: This one sounds nice, doesn’t it? Those who are secure tend to be able to express their emotions appropriately, give and receive intimacy, and draw boundaries. They’re solution-focused. Their outlook on relationships and connection is generally positive, and they’re okay whether or not they’re involved in a romantic relationship. Not that people with a secure attachment style aren’t without their faults and challenges, but this is the healthiest of the styles.
  • Anxious-Preoccupied: These people feel more nervous about relationships, and they’re more likely to be needy or jealous. They don’t like being single and may even struggle when they’re not in a romantic relationship, but their dating histories tend to be rich with drama. They often go to a worst-case scenario when evaluating someone’s intentions or words. They need ongoing validation and expressions of acceptance.
  • Dismissive-Avoidant: Freedom-loving and self-sufficient, people who have a dismissive-avoidant style prefer to be single and are likely to avoid intimacy — they don’t want to be vulnerable. They put work and other activities before their romantic relationships. You might refer to them as having “commitment issues.”
  • Fearful-Avoidant: These people may crave intimacy, but they’re afraid of getting too close to someone and ultimately losing them. They may have a hard time trusting people and tend to push others away. Those who have experienced abuse, abandonment, or grief may be more likely to adopt a fearful-avoidant attachment style.

How It Can Impact Your Ability to Close New Business

People with a secure attachment style will probably be fairly successful in business relationships, too. Of course, you’ll want to pay attention to whom you’re working with, because they may exhibit a very different attachment style than you do. Recognizing that your would-be client is dismissive-avoidant, for example, might give you a clue that she won’t respond well to an excess of follow-up calls — while your anxious-preoccupied employee might need constant reassurance that he’s doing a good job.

  • If you’re anxious-preoccupied, you might come across as desperate when trying to earn new business. If someone criticizes your firm or its work on a project, you might get defensive or withdraw from dealing with the person who said it. You might obsess over tiny details of your latest interaction, and fret about layers of meaning in what someone said — layers that may or may not exist.
  • If you’re dismissive-avoidant, you may have trouble attracting new business because you struggle with the empathy, vulnerability, and genuineness that today’s consumers want to see. Since vulnerability is key to effective leadership, you might also notice a disconnect between you and the people under your stewardship.
  • If you’re fearful-avoidant, you might have a hard time delegating because you don’t trust anyone else to do the job. Or, you could have fear of success.

Working With Your Own Relational Attachment Style

There’s no judgment in recognizing which attachment style you have in this phase of your life. We are all products of the experiences that have blindsided us as well as the choices we’ve made — and the mind and body are geared toward survival. In other words, they do what they have to do. Your attachment style is a response to things that have happened to you, so there should be zero blame, shame or guilt around one’s identification.

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Kelly Campbell

Kelly Campbell

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Trauma-informed Conscious Leadership Coach, helping creative + tech leaders develop self-awareness, cultivate team trust and lead fully integrated lives.