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It is seen as a function carried out by a person. It is something invested in one particular group member. Whether or not that member is perceived as being differentiated from the others as regards responsibility, authority, skill, knowledge, status, or power -- the fact is that the differentiation is made. Associated with this differentiation are certain expectations that the leader has more at stake, will take a more active role than others, has certain powers over the others, is more capable than others in selecting group goals, can make policy decisions, will give the group guidance and direction. Cortisol also suppresses the immune system and the gastrointestinal system so as not to waste energy on less essential functions. Once the threat dissipates, the parasympathetic nervous system--the brake--dampens the stress response, causing cortisol and epinephrine levels to fall. Sometimes, instead of the fight-or-flight response, a freeze response, wherein you dissociate or otherwise feel numb and disengaged, gets triggered. During freezing, the two counteracting components of the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, are activated. Your past experiences team with your biology to dictate why certain circumstances trigger a fight-or-flight versus a freeze response. Evolutionary biologists maintain that a big driver is the degree of hope you have about your ability to activate change, such as ever getting out of debt or finding a partner, and that this is often below the level of conscious control. Typically when we think of stress, we think primarily of the pathways leading up to and ending with the cortisol response, but there is now evidence that in certain stressful situations, a hormone called oxytocin is released along with cortisol. Oxytocin, nicknamed the cuddle hormone, initiates what's been called a tend-and-befriend response to stress, elevating feelings of attachment, connection, trust, and intimacy and helping you get out of your stressful situation. The tend-and-befriend response drives us to pay more attention to what we can do for others and encourages us to reach out for support when we feel that what we're going through is more than we can fix on our own--be it financial problems, an illness, or the loss of a loved one. It's not as well-honed in most people as the fight-or-flight response. Even with this event, my reputation's intact. Time to cut myself some slack and realize that I'm only human, and sometimes stuff happens. Having a mantra like this enables you to manage the internal conflicts that arise when daily life requires you to get flexible around your core icebergs. When Our Safety Icebergs Get Rocked No control iceberg is bigger than the ones we hold around our loved ones' welfare. We are excellent at creating certain parameters in our minds to keep us feeling safe.

If we believe that good things happen to good people and bad things only happen to bad people, or that people who take care of themselves don't get sick, then we feel like we have some control. But 9/11 broke that iceberg for many people, and it was very troubling. Suddenly, our ground shifted and we were left thinking, If it could happen to them, it could happen to me. Our safety signal was gone, but the truth is, all along it was only partially true. Such expectations may be thought of as parts of a generalized attitude on the part of group members toward the leader: dependence. McGregor, in discussing the characteristics of the supervisor-subordinate relationship in industrial organizations, elaborates on this point as follows: Psychologically the dependence of the subordinate upon his superiors is a fact of extraordinary significance, in part because of its emotional similarity to the dependence characteristic of another earlier relationship: that between the child and his parents. The similarity is more than an analogy. The adult subordinate's dependence upon his superiors actually reawakens certain emotions and attitudes which were part of his childhood relationship with his parents, and which apparently have long since been outgrown. The adult is usually unaware of the similarity because most of this complex of childhood emotions has been repressed. Although the emotions influence his behavior, they are not accessible to consciousness under ordinary circumstances. McGregor's analysis of this relationship is undoubtedly an accurate one. Yet it must be pointed out that he is observing leadership as it exists today, not only in industry, but in almost all organizations -- leadership that is a function carried out by a single person. It is quite possible, however, to think of leadership in a different way -- namely, as the property of the total group or organization. From an evolutionary perspective, tending or nurturing oneself and others, along with befriending others and expanding and maintaining social networks, is advantageous. We'll focus on developing the tend-and-befriend reaction in article 8, on Connection. SHORT-LIVED STRESS CAN BE GOOD Moderate, short-lived stress is valuable and energizing, often improving alertness and performance. As an example, I feel stressed before I teach. This low-level stress response makes me alert and focused, without many negative effects.

Stress can also boost memory. From an evolutionary perspective, memory strengthening makes sense because remembering stressors from the past can help you respond to similar future situations. Stress is good when it is moderate and transient, and when it happens in a relatively safe setting. Stress is problematic when it persists for a long time or is chronically activated, adding to your allostatic load. We do have some control over our health and our safety, but we don't have full control, because we live within an ecosystem that introduces other factors. Nothing is perfectly random, and nothing is perfectly controllable. Life has no guarantees, and that's part of this ride. Once we realize where our control ends, we can stop trying to grasp for what's out of our reach and exercise our powers where they are effective. We can let go and let life unfold, leading to a far greater sense of peace. MELT THE ICEBERG Often, for icebergs that we form in childhood, the cons far outweigh the pros. For instance, I should be respected by all people at all times is just not justified. You can almost hear the stomping of the feet and crossing of the arms of a child. This belief will cause way more pain and frustration than good in your life, so we need to melt that iceberg, or reshape it into one about respect that's more tenable. Leadership, in these terms, becomes a set of functions, not vested in a single person, but rather functions which must be carried out by the group. Leadership is, then, not a role to be played by one member of a group, but rather a set of functions to be performed within the group in order that the group may make adjustments, solve problems, and develop its potentials. Benne and Sheats (23), as well as others associated with the group dynamics movement, have effectively encouraged this way of looking at leadership. They have called attention to the notion of the diffusion of leadership throughout the group, implying that the leadership functions should ideally be taken over by group members. Leadership, then, may be thought of as a set of functions which are the property of the group and which, under ideal conditions, become distributed within the group. This concept of distributed leadership is an important one.

It is possible to see it now in relation to one of our earlier propositions about groups -- namely, that a group will make the most appropriate adjustment when it utilizes the maximum creative potential of its membership. Stated simply, the adjustive behavior of the group will be most appropriate when each member is free at any time to take on some of the functions of leadership. As emphasized earlier, however, this state rarely exists in groups. Most organizations operate far from this ideal. It's also more likely to be problematic if you can't predict the onset, how bad it will be, or how long it will last. Why does predictability result in dampening the stress response, including reduced cortisol and epinephrine secretion? It takes more energy to process something that is new. If something is predictable, the brain can use the information to minimize cost and effort and act more quickly. Also, if you have a warning, you can plan coping strategies. When I was told that I'd have a surgical drain for a week post-surgery and that I would be much more comfortable once it was removed, I planned for it by taking time off work, being prepared with binge-worthy Netflix ideas, and having my partner available to take care of me. By planning my coping strategy, I was able to manage the stress more easily. In contrast, if I thought it was never going to change, I wouldn't have taken care of myself and wouldn't have modulated the stress. The biggest challenge to your stress system comes from the situations where you feel that you have no agency (control) in your life. The more agency you have, the better you are at mitigating the damages of a stress response. Perhaps I deserve basic respect, but that does not mean that people should grant every wish I have might serve you better. In that case, it's not a ridiculously wild expectation, and you won't flip out if the mechanic says he can't fix your car until early next week (that is, as long as he is actually repairing your car in the order in which it arrived and/or the order in which he can get the parts). When you're genuinely not getting the respect to which you're entitled, then you can take appropriate action. The key is to come up with a mantra--an ice breaker--that you will say to yourself when you crash into your icebergs so that, with practice, you can eventually melt them. Here are a few good examples: Iceberg Belief: I should do everything perfectly.

Ice Breaker: Here I go again, thinking I have to get everything exactly right. No one can do that. I'm not Superwoman. I'm not going to hold myself hostage to that `museum piece' of an iceberg from my childhood. It is rarely possible to say of a group that its leadership is distributed or that its members are making their maximum contribution. The very existence of a group leader, either real or perceived, may be a deterrent to the distribution of leadership throughout the group. This statement needs further examination, because most groups do have leaders. Some groups have a structured leader-role which is kept filled by some member of the group, as in almost all of our industrial and business organizations, our educational, religious, and political institutions -- in fact, practically all of the institutionalized groups in our culture. Sometimes the group members have something to say about the choice of person to fill the role, sometimes not. Other groups have a leader imposed on them, in which case the members have little voice in the selection of the leader. This would be true of the countless groups of students who walk into their classes for the first time and find their leaders already chosen for them. In a sense, this would be true also of the family group; In other groups, there may not be either a structured leader-role or an imposed leader, but rather a perceived leader. In such groups, the group members perceive a leader amongst them, sometimes despite the fact the person to whom the group looks for leadership may not realize he is thus perceived. CHRONIC STRESS CAN BE BAD Chronic, as opposed to occasional, stress imposes a very different experience. With chronic stress, you can become hypervigilant, acting as if the world is unsafe, regardless of whether it actually is. This makes sense if experience has shown you that you can't trust your environment. Then, even if there's no monster under the bed, you're on high alert. You may also be distrusting, constantly anticipating and scanning the world for threats.