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Why Leaders Need Both Their Warrior and Sage Personas

Both these archetypes can inform the work of leaders

One of the most important contributions made by pioneering Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung is the concept of archetypes, which he described as "forms in the psyche which seem to be present always and everywhere... There are as many archetypes as there are typical situations in life... When a situation occurs which corresponds to a given archetype, that archetype becomes activated."

In Jung's framework archetypes constitute the "collective unconscious," which English psychiatrist Anthony Stevens calls "a dynamic substratum, common to all humanity, on the basis of which each individual builds his or her own experience of life, developing a unique array of psychological characteristics. In other words, the archetypes of the collective unconscious [provide] the basic themes of human life on which each individual [works] out his or her own set of variations."

Despite Jung's interest in mysticism and spirituality, we need not view archetypes and the collective unconscious as otherworldly phenomena at odds with modern science. They're more appropriately viewed as instinctive aspects of human psychology that may have an evolutionary basis, similar to such experiences as anxiety and grief. Stevens cites comments by Jung specifying that an archetype "is not meant to to denote an inherited idea, but rather an inherited mode of psychic functioning, corresponding to the inborn way in which the chick emerges from the egg... In other words, it is a 'pattern of behavior.'"

Please select this link to read the complete blog post from Ed Batista's Executive Coaching.

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