Home Concepts Gestalt Principles Staying Alive In Complex Challenges Of Leadership And Organizations

Staying Alive In Complex Challenges Of Leadership And Organizations

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The problem with this excellent mechanism is that amygdala does not differentiate between actual physical threat and perceived emotional and identity threats, and reacts with the same three strategies whenever how we see ourselves is challenged, or something we don’t wish might happen.

David Rock[3] had identified 5 situations that our brains react as if there is a tiger in the room. These are:

  • Status
  • Certainty
  • Autonomy
  • Relations
  • Fairness

David Rock states that when we perceive threat in these five areas, our brains react in a similar way as if there is a tiger in the room. I observe in our culture, and in many eastern cultures, one more area is very critical: Shame. This is why it always is a struggle to give and receive feedback in Turkey and other cultures with eastern flavors.

As you can see, a VUCA environment will inevitably trigger many, if not all, of the SCARF + S threat responses.


These conditions we find ourselves in result in what scientists call “amygdala hijacks”. When triggered, our amygdala bypasses all logical thinking and reacts in the fight, run, and freeze responses. I like to think that most of the conflicts in organizations and in the world generally, are not between rational human beings; they are rather fights between scared and as a result triggered amygdalas, who keep on being threats and scary to each other, and further triggering themselves and others.

Five Hindrances of Leadership[4]

Behind these fallacies human beings find themselves as leaders and also in their social/personal lives are some basic misunderstandings and the results of these misunderstandings. These, as summarized as the The Five Hindrances of the Leader and the Leadership are as follows:

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