Step 3: Managing Threats to Your Self-Image

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WHILE DISCUSSING DIFFICULT interactions with another person, you may begin worrying that your perceptions about yourself are called into question. For example, suppose a direct report says, “I didn’t attend the meeting because I didn’t think you valued my ideas.” In response, you wonder to yourself, “Maybe I’m not a competent manager after all.”

For many people, the sense that their self-image is being challenged creates anxiety. It’s useful to address feelings about selfimage—in yourself and the other person—during tough interactions. Why? Anxiety about self-image can overwhelm us, making it virtually ...

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