Regression, as defined in Wikipedia, is a defense mechanism leading to the temporary or long-term reversion of the mind to an earlier stage of development rather than handling unacceptable realities in a more adult way. The defense mechanism of regression occurs when thoughts are pushed back out of our consciousness and into our unconscious.
Regressive behavior can be complex and harmful. A person may revert to an old, usually immature behavior to ventilate feelings of frustration. Regression only becomes a problem when it is used frequently to avoid adult situations and causes problems in the individual’s life. Behaviors associated with regression can vary greatly depending upon which stage the person is fixated at.
Psychologist Harry Guntrip stated “Representing the fact that the person at bottom feels overwhelmed by their external world and is in flight from it both inwards and as it were backwards to the safety of the metaphorical womb.”..Regression backwards to the safety of the womb is a unique phenomenon and represents the most intense form of defensive withdrawal in an effort to find safety and to avoid destruction by external reality. The fantasy of regression to the womb is the fantasy of regression to a place of ultimate safety.
Sadly, this condition can end in physical death. As the person begins sequentially living their life “backwards” or “in reverse”, they can not only mentally, but physically go from their 20s to their teens, then onto adolescence, pre-adolescence, and the infancy stage. Finally, they cross the next line which is physical death.
Leaders, the condition of Personality or Physical Regression should concern us.
How many leaders want to go back to the “good old days” when life was much simpler? Often we wish to go back to a time that we feel was safer and felt much more in control. Leaders, this is an illusion! Don’t go there!
When we take our churches, organizations, and thought processes back to an earlier time, we run the risk of contracting Leadership and Organizational Regression. Though it feels safe, the “good old days” were not that good. In reality, going there can, in worst cases, destroy your organization.
“Been there. Done that” was cute when said by Forrest Gump but is not a leadership statement. Leaders should be “Going there. Doing that.” For leaders, the best days are always in front of us. Leaders by definition are taking people somewhere. They love breaking new ground.
Choose Innovation. Choose Spontaneity. Reject Regression. Reject Repackaging and Recycling Old Ideas.
Leaders, yesterday ended last night. Seize the day. Make a difference. Be the leader you were created to be. And for the sake of your leadership and all those you are responsible for, keep moving forward!
To make your voice heard as a leader, click The Leadership Tribe link.