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Christina Lattimer

People Development Magazine


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Leadership Quality No 2 – Empowering by Detaching


 Detachment can seem like a cold clinical state to be in.  People who are detached often don’t appear to be involved or engaged.  However in some instances, you have to detach in order to reframe your thinking, beliefs and way of being if your current way of attaching to a person, situation or belief is not serving you well.  This week’s article discusses when detaching can be healthy and the alternative healthy way of relating which can lead from detachment and empower you to lead yourself first.

We all can become attached at some stage in our lives.  As children we are attached to our parents or other caregivers.  In this scenario attachment is seen as healthy and affirming.

When an attachment prevents us from seeing or acting clearly it has become unhealthy.   Sometimes we are attached to other people, to particular kinds of situations, or substances for example.  Obsessive attachments as we know become addictions.  When these kinds of attachments become obvious we will often seek help.

In the workplace, we can become attached to a particular culture, belief or perception about the way things are, or should be. We can become attached to our views of others and also about how relationships should be at work.   People who resist change are usually people who are attached to maintaining the status quo.

A number of years ago I worked with a manager, who believed employee surveys weren’t helpful because in his view the survey gave people the opportunity to complain and only employees who had a grudge filled in the survey. Hard-working employees did not have time to fill in the survey; they were too busy doing “real” work.   Despite attempts to help him see the employee survey as an opportunity, he preferred to be right and his view prevailed.   His survey results never did improve.

Often we don’t even realise we are unhealthily attached to our views, something or someone, until we have to face physical, emotional, or intellectual change.   An unhealthy attachment is actually a reaction to fear of change, or when letting go feels like we have to give up or sacrifice something we believe we need.    It’s also human nature, and very few of us have the emotional intelligence and insight to completely avoid the pain unhealthy attachment brings.

The problem with letting go of attachments is it feels scary. There is however a magical empowering alternative to attachment.  We all need to form relationships with people and situations.  We need to build a framework of beliefs and ideas so we can function.  Instead of attachment, we need to connect. Connecting is involving oneself emotionally, physically or intellectually without the fear of “giving up” or “sacrifice” unhealthy attachment is borne of.  We know we can connect, enjoy and when the time is right, with love; let go.

Below are some of the ways we can better navigate our lives by replacing unhealthy attachment with healthy connection.

  • Recognise when we are attached to people and instead reframe into healthy connection. We can intimately connect with our very close relationships.  As you connect with others, rather than become attached, you are freer and can enjoy each other without the fear of loss. You realise people come into your life sometimes for a lifetime, and sometimes for a season.
  • We might not realise we are attached to objects or situations until we have to face the pain of giving them up.   How often do you hear sad stories of people who ruin or take their lives because of losses on the stock exchange for instance?  “Giving up” can create depression and despair.  “Letting go” is a healthy alternative. If we know we can enjoy our lifestyle, or our situation and be able to “let go” when the time is right, this attitude empowers us to live and enjoy the present.
  • Let go of our need to be right.   Attachment to beliefs, attitudes and ideas can limit our life tremendously.   Reality is shaped by our beliefs. What we focus on becomes our world. By keeping an open mind and being prepared to examine and change limiting or unhelpful beliefs and thinking; we stay fresh and open to what life brings.
  • Be purposefully positive.  Recognise when we are unhealthily attached to being negative and how negativity is limiting ourselves and others, in our lives and our workplaces.  Holding onto negative views and conclusions will ultimately prove us right in the end

If the manager who dismissed his employee survey results by his fixed views about the respondents had been more open minded; he might have been open to the possibility that even negative feedback was “valuable”.  He could have taken the opportunity to engage with his people, acknowledge their perceptions and take action to positively impact them, and his results.

We all become attached and sometimes unhealthily, it is an ego trait which can cause unnecessary pain, suffering and resistance.  If you find yourself attached, then with kindness and understanding, gently detach and reconnect.    You will become magically empowered to live life more openly and freely, and after all isn’t such freedom what we all want?

If you are interested in finding out more about emotional intelligence: Instantly download the People Discovery free E-book; The 6 Secrets of Great Emotional Intelligence – For Inspirational Leaders and Managers.

Christina is the owner of People Discovery, an Inspirational Leadership, Management and Engagement consultancy based in the UK.  Visit People Discovery to find out more about Leadership Development. Christina’s second published book “Getting to Grips with Stress in the Workplace for Inspirational Leaders and Managers”  is also available on her website as a free download.

2 Responses




    Apologies, the link was broken by some internal re-organisation by Mallchimp,  I have edited the link and hopefully this one should take you to the relevant page. 


    Thanks for letting me know.  


    Best Wishes Christina




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Christina Lattimer


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