Skip to main content

Overcoming Your Tendencies to Optimize Your Performance

By Moderating your behavior, whether you are a Type A or Type B personality you can get even better than you already are. But, let’s focus on the Type A’s.

What happens when you meditate and cultivate some distance between yourself and the things that usually drive your behavior?  You become patient, relaxed, your blood pressure goes down, and at times you lack an overriding sense of urgency.  These are some of the characteristics of a Type B personality.  To a person with a Type A personality, Type B’s look like they are apathetic and disengaged.
Type A’s have been characterized,  as as “ambitiousaggressivebusiness-likecontrolling, highly competitiveimpatientpreoccupied with his or her status, time-conscious, and tightly-wound. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics” who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.”[1]

Some highly successful people have gotten to where they are because of their Type A traits and are running out of the oomph that is required to get further ahead or to sustain and retain their current status.   They may still have  the oomph but they may be having difficulty dealing with “lesser beings” – people who are not Type A’s and those who may be less intelligent and less driven than the Type A manager may think they should be.  That difficulty may result in frustration which turns to anger which, in turn, becomes abusive behavior.

Highly driven people need to moderate their behavior and attitudes in order to work smarter rather than harder.  Because they have reached a stage in their career at which they must rely on others to get things done they need to cultivate patience and moderate the tendency to be sharp and even angry with people.

Type A personalities are often saddled with the belief that it is detrimental to cultivate the traits associated with Type B’s.  “Who wants to be apathetic and disengaged?”

Project managers can cultivate a skillful balance.  They need to be patient, objective and relaxed without being apathetic and disengaged.  They also need be ambitiousassertive (as opposed to aggressive), business-like, in control (as opposed to controlling), eager to get things done (rather than impatient and highly competitive),  time-conscious, and alert, but not tightly-wound. Being preoccupied one’s status is not a particularly useful trait, though being aware of one’s status and how to maintain and use it is.

How does one cultivate a skillful balance and become a patient, relaxed, highly motivated, high achieving project manager?  Start by doing mindfulness meditation so you can be aware enough to have the ability to decide to choose your behavior moment to moment rather than be driven to act out based on habitual patterns.  Learn to calm down. When you see yourself about to impatiently lay into someone, pull yourself back, calm yourself down and the optimal way to get what you want done.

Don’t forget to leave your comments below.

[1] Friedman, M. (1996), Type A Behavior: Its Diagnosis and Treatment. New York, Plenum Press (Kluwer Academic Press), pp. 31 ff.

George Pitagorsky

George Pitagorsky, integrates core disciplines and applies people centric systems and process thinking to achieve sustainable optimal performance. He is a coach, teacher and consultant. George authored The Zen Approach to Project Management, Managing Conflict and Managing Expectations and IIL’s PM Fundamentals™. He taught meditation at NY Insight Meditation Center for twenty-plus years and created the Conscious Living/Conscious Working and Wisdom in Relationships courses. Until recently, he worked as a CIO at the NYC Department of Education.

Comments (4)