How To Use Transactional Analysis To Create A More Effective Workplace
In my previous blog post, we talked about Transactional Analysis, a psychology theory centered on communication that was developed by Eric Berne in the 1950s. He theorized that verbal communication, particularly face to face, is at the center of social relationships and that we have three ego states: “parent,” “child,” and “adult.”
Before we jump into how to create a more effective workplace using this theory, here’s a quick quiz to take (don’t worry, you won’t be graded!). Choose whether each statement is “parent,” “child,” or “adult.”
|“I’m the boss here.”||P||A||C|
|“We can have this proposal ready for you by Friday.”||P||A||C|
|“Don’t blame me for the error.”||P||A||C|
|“This error in figures is not typical.”||P||A||C|
|“Wow! Look at the cost of that!”||P||A||C|
|“Let me help you finish that report.”||P||A||C|
|“Little paperclips are just adorable.”||P||A||C|
|“I can be downtown in 15 minutes.”||P||A||C|
|“It wasn’t my fault.”||P||A||C|
|“You should have more insurance.”||P||A||C|
|“I’m using a calculator just like Mr. CEO uses.”||P||A||C|
The following 7 tips can help you to build an “adult” work environment that is characterized by effective, “adult” communications:
1. Ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
2. No matter how upset you might get, try to keep an even temper and speak with a neutral tone of voice.
3. Take notes, since writing forces you to think and also shows the speaker that you are listening.
4. When standing, maintain a relaxed, open posture and nod your head to show that you are listening.
5. Instead of speaking in abstract, use facts and statistics in your statements. Both you and your employees will have to focus on what you are saying.
6. Give constructive criticism that is helpful and directly related to what the person did, not who they are as a person.
7. When you have to have a difficult, negative conversation, spend as much time focusing on the positive as the negative.
The more an adult work environment is intentionally created at your workplace the more adult behaviors you will attract. Communication and relationships will become more effective and productive.
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