How to Know Your Patterns – Tools for Reflection

Eric Han De Han

Eric Han De Han

Eric Han De Han

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Know Your Patterns

Working to address what we find most challenging

As we work with executives facing considerable challenges it has become evident to us how important it is for executives to find ways of doing their own work to help themselves.  Consequently in seeking to be of support we focus on how we may provide support that they as leaders and executives can use. We support them to find out how they may better understand their own patterns and then use this insight to develop practices that enable them to work more effectively with their challenging patterns, while relating better to others who they find relationally challenging.

In the book “The Leadership Shadow” we include some chapters specifically focused on the “self-help” aspects that executives can benefit from. In these chapters we invite readers to use the frameworks offered to start to do some work themselves to explore their own patterns of overdrive as leaders.

The frameworks we offer cover the following:

Core Qualities

Drawing from the work and frameworks developed by Daniel Ofman’s work on core competencies (Ofman 2002). You can start by cataloguing your own “core qualities” as a leaders. This model can be used to explore these qualities and to consider:

  • how you may go into overdrive and how that overdrive may play out
  • pitfalls that are likely to be associated with your particular strengths
  • the main challenges and opportunities you may face when operating with a particular leadership quality you have identified
  • your sensitivities, based on how you have (over)specialised yourself (i.e. your “allergies”)

Neurotic patterns

Having looked at your core qualities you may then also consider which neurotic patterns may be relevant to you as a leader. We describe in detail 11 personality patterns based on psychological types. You can use the tools associated with the pattern descriptions to examine which of these may patterns may characterise your behaviour in periods of stress and difficulties.

Behavioural drivers

You may also then consider the behavioural drivers that tend to propel you towards ambition and success but which may also tend to persist under stress and even go into overdrive. These behavioural drivers are based on a framework first proposed by Taibi Kahler (1975). Typically drivers may be seen as being:

  • unconscious internal pressures that make us respond in certain ways;
  • often (although not always) inappropriate or unhelpful reactions when it comes to obtaining results (as they tend to satisfy inner needs rather than actual events)
  • signals that betray important internal processes that are playing a role

We offer a questionnaire that you can use to identify which of their drivers show up particularly strongly. By completing this questionnaire you may gain additional insight into your behaviour. You may also learn how best to respond in leadership situations of stress, or in situations which require strong relationships with people whose behaviour and drivers you may find challenging


You can also consider completing a resilience questionnaire. The resilience questionnaire offered is a measure of personal resilience focusing on six resilient attitudes based on Ashridge Business School research (Davda 2011). It explores the effectiveness of different ways of thinking, feeling and behaving in stressful situations. You may use the results to consider how effectively you cope with stress in your day-to-day working and personal lives.

Developmental questions

Taken together these frameworks and tools enable you to find out more about your own leadership patterns by providing you the means of exploring them further. This enables you better to take a view on key developmental questions such as:

  • My qualities, opportunities, threats and challenges

o   What are my unique personal strengths and qualities?

o   How do these qualities and strengths manifest themselves when I am at my best?

o   How might these qualities go into overdrive and manifest themselves when I am challenged?

o   What aspects trigger these challenges and lead to my overdrive tendencies?

o   What should I ideally lean or work towards in order to balance and recover from overdrive relating to these particular qualities?

  • My behavioural drivers

o   What are my strongest behavioural drivers?

o   Which drivers play out in situations of challenge and stress?

o   How do my drivers help and enable me to achieve my ambitions?

o   How do my drivers hinder or encumber me in situations of challenge?

o   What strengths and weaknesses do I have to pay attention to in relation to each of my drivers?

o   How can I utilise my drivers effectively in order to achieve better outcomes?

  • My leadership patterns and how they play out when I am in overdrive.

o   Which personality patterns manifest themselves in my relational networks?

o   What do they look like in “full-bloom”?

o   How do I express my patterns when in overdrive?

o   What areas of challenge and risk do I need to be aware of?

o   What should I do to recover and address challenges coming out of such patterns of overdrive?

  • My resilience: how I respond and behave in pressure situations.

o   How do I measure on the resilient attitudes identified in the resilience research?

o   What does this mean for me (and others) in terms of my responses in pressured situations –  in relation to:

  • my emotional control
  • my self-belief
  • my sense of purpose
  • my awareness of others
  • my stability and my balancing alternatives


This Blog Article is adapted and edited from the forthcoming book by Prof. Erik de Haan and

Dr Anthony Kasozi  entitledThe Leadership Shadow – How to recognize and avoid derailment, hubris and overdrive” Published August 3rd 2014

Additional Article References:

  1. Davda, A. (2011) Measuring resilience: A pilot study.  Assessment and Development Matters, Autumn, 11-14.
  2. Kahler, T. (1975). Drivers: The key to the process scripts. Transactional Analysis Journal, 5.3, 280-284.

Ofman, D. (2002). Core qualities: a gateway to human resources. Schiedam (NL): Scriptum