Monday, April 8, 2024

Changing the Script

If the child, parent, and adult mode behaviors are essentially scripts, what keeps people playing their roles, and how can someone slip out of a role? In transactional analysis, there are two types of transactions: complementary and crossed. A complementary transaction means that the behavioral modes match up and can continue indefinitely. One person’s child mode evokes another person’s parent mode, and things can spiral out of control into perpetual conflict. In order to intervene, one person has to engage in a behavioral mode that doesn’t complement the other’s behavior. This creates a crossed transaction.  When a transaction becomes crossed, this destabilizes the scripted behaviors where those involved seek to find a new complementary behavior. Keep in mind that in this scheme, Parent to Child and vice versa is complementary, but so too is Adult to Adult. The way to change the script then is for someone to adopt an Adult mode of behavior. When this turns the transaction from a complementary transaction to a crossed transaction, the other person seeks to find a new equilibrium in a new complementary transaction, so they will in turn also assume the complementary Adult role. 

Trusting Your Team

When you lead others, you will find that they will rise and fall to the expectations you set for them. If you trust your team and act to be worthy of their trust, they will strive to be worthy of your trust.

Dangers of Micromanaging

One of the most difficult habits to keep under control when leading others is the tendency to micromanage. If you are someone who has a great deal of responsibility within the company and are emotionally invested, it may be tempting to try to do it all yourself. However, micromanaging, even for the most tireless of managers, is the kiss of death in being an effective leader. Your employees will come to resent always having you looking over their shoulder. Another tragic consequence of micromanaging is that you may well stunt your employees’ growth. In order for each employee to become the best they can be, you have to encourage them to find their own way. Sometimes they may not do something in the same way that you would, and standing aside may result in their failure. Keep in mind, however, that failure is often a prelude to success. Allowing an employee to make a mistake is akin to allowing that employee to grow and become better. Here are some suggestions to help you avoid the temptation to micromanage:

  • Tell employees that they can come to you with a problem only after they have thought of at least two possible solutions to that problem.
  • While having an open-door policy is helpful in building rapport with your employees, and it is useful in serving the needs of your employees, you must consider how useful you are to those employees if you stand in the way of their growth. Consider limiting your employees’ access to you in some ways. One possibility is to allow a certain time of day for open access while other times of day are reserved for appointments only.
  • Another suggestion is to resist the urge to jump in at any sign of difficulty. Instead, count slowly to 10 and consider whether or not this is one of those times where your help is truly necessary.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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