Goldring's 'Forwithto' Paradigm
Method / Human Resources
Goldring's 'Forwithto' Paradigm
Stewart Goldring, Member, Director, United Kingdom
A Paradigm describing interaction between employees and managers.
Do people work for you? To you? Or - With you?
Over 30 years of management experience has enabled me to conduct research using empirical evidence and observational analysis to determine factors which are responsible for poor communication and deleterious outcomes. I have also been able to trial and test a number of theories about how management may work best through the mentoring and coaching of hundreds of managers. One of those key observations involve close scrutiny of the style of managers especially in their interaction with staff. Having also studied a number of theories of interaction and communication I found that many managers were still uncomfortable with traditional or common relationships between staff and managers.
It was clear that managers needed a new perspective on how to achieve positive resolutions especially when conducting one to one discussions or meetings underpinned by the construct of performance management.
In the real world of day to day fire fighting, problem solving and stress management results in managers looking to seek a more sustainable and effective method that takes the heat out of relationships and puts light back in!
This paradigm is also largely informed by Rogers and UPR - requiring a dispassionate and professional 'voice' for the manager. This I would argue liberates the manager - enabling them to focus on the business at hand without being side-tracked by emotional responses.
In this paradigm - I explore the relationship between these 3 factors.
FOR - WITH - TO
People who work FOR you - the relationship is often perceived as autocratic and dominant. Tends to be based on received leadership and is driven by the manager. It is neither inclusive nor effective except perhaps in some professions where rigid control is needed such as in the armed forces.
People who work WITH you - suggests a partnership role rather than a leadership role. Often characterised by the jolly leader who tells staff constantly that 'we are all in this together!
Works well until you have to discipline staff or reorganise, downsize, right size or capsize.
Focus is on 'team' and 'team performance.'
People who work TO you-? in this way - all staff may work to you because you all work to a plan! The business plan, the development plan, the delivery plan. It enables the manager to focus on performance whilst excluding the soft relationships of team work - working with each other - and excludes the top -down autocratic relationships found in working for people. The real benefit arising from this method is that Managers do not have to adopt a personality that is not a trait for them - a discussion that also underpins my 'Three Faces of Management' Methodology.
These assertions may be clear enough but I assure you that they are grounded in mature method and strategy. This paradigm has a strong relationship to a range of research and analysis in both the psycho social field and linguistic analysis areas. My purpose in describing and signposting you to this research is not to blind the practitioner with impenetrable theory but to describe and detail clear relationships with previous research, to enable you to experience the development of these underpinning principles through my eyes.
David G. Myers says the following in his Psychology: Eighth Edition in Modules:
People also nurture our growth by being accepting—by offering us what Rogers called unconditional positive regard. This is an attitude of grace, an attitude that values us even knowing our failings. It is a profound relief to drop our pretenses, confess our worst feelings, and discover that we are still accepted. In a good marriage, a close family, or an intimate friendship, we are free to be spontaneous without fearing the loss of others' esteem.
Berne, Rogers [et al] and transactional analysis
TA or transactional analysis as a concept lends its inception and development to this theory which promotes and develops Freud’s ego, id and super ego. For our purposes - the important part of the concept reflects Berne’s focus on good communication and building better interactional relationships at work. Specifically this refers to management win-win resolutions and PAC – the parent/adult/child interactions. For this purpose – Berne identifies 3 common ego states that are found in communications at all levels. He suggests that both parent and child[childlike/] behaviours are learned and therefore may interfere with professional and adult oriented communications.
Parent ("exteropsyche"): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent's actions. For example, a person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating that worked.
Adult ("neopsyche"): a state of the ego which is most like a computer processing information and making predictions absent of major emotions that could affect its operation. Learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of TA. While a person is in the Adult ego state, he/she is directed towards an objective appraisal of reality.
Child ("archaeopsyche"): a state in which people behave, feel and think similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who receives a poor evaluation at work may respond by looking at the floor, and crying or pouting, as they used to when scolded as a child. Conversely, a person who receives a good evaluation may respond with a broad smile and a joyful gesture of thanks. The Child is the source of emotions, creation, recreation, spontaneity and intimacy.
The key idea in TA philosophy is that the Adult state is preferred because it seeks meaning and resolution through “an objective appraisal of reality.” His starting point is mirrored later by Carl Rogers and David G. Myers says the following in his Psychology: Eighth Edition in Modules:
‘People also nurture our growth by being accepting—by offering us what Rogers called unconditional positive regard. This is an attitude of grace, an attitude that values us even knowing our failings. It is a profound relief to drop our pretenses, confess our worst feelings, and discover that we are still accepted. In a good marriage, a close family, or an intimate friendship, we are free to be spontaneous without fearing the loss of others' esteem.’
I suggest that the Forwithto principle is informed by the resolution and interactions detailed by Berne and Rogers in that the three constituences of ego interaction as described by Berne coalesce with the three constituents of the Forwithto paradigm. In this correlary - the FOR principle may be seen to have characterisitics associated with the parent ego state. The ‘with’ principle assumes a somewhat false premise of shared ownership or responsibility for work outcomes and therefore I believe there is some synergy and attribution to the behaviours of children in the context of striving for more professional relationships at work. It is my proposition that the adult ego state is best matched to the principle of shared ownership of the targets, plan, outcomes and practices of companies.
The reception and transmission of language has an important part to play in shaping and understanding how the building blocks of language inform the differences and nuances of perception through experience. Indeed – experiential learning also plays a big part in the teaching and learning philosophies associated with operant conditioning and reinforcement [B F Skinner] and’ restricted and elaborated codes in education’ as described by Bernstein.
Both theories relate to the linguistic principles I am seeking to underline and their inter-relationship between what words may mean – how they are transmitted – and how they may be understood- or how they are received. In this context inevitably – readers may wish to draw comparisons to the words for – with – to and their received or observed characteristics. It may be observed that ‘characteristics’ can range from generalised but false assumptions to insightful but specific attributes associated with the words themselves. I am reminded here also of the discussions emanating from the work of Franz Boas the anthropologist and his work on the Inuit language of the Eskimo people and their ’ 50 words for snow. ‘
Statement attributes –
Transmitter – manager – receiver -staff subordinate.
FOR - “you work for me.”
Associated with possession – ownership, contractual compliance, power, lack of feedback, one way transmission, lack of integrity, subservience , dominance , lack of freedom. The receiver may identify with the ‘for’ principle where the receiver is either unable or unconcerned to work or think outside of their normal jurisdiction.
WITH - “we work together.”
Transmitter – Manager
Associated with equality , team empowerment , groupthink [Janis, 1982], regularity, conformity, uniformity, high morale but poor performance. This principle seems to work well until the manager as transmitter has to make difficult or painful decisions about change – diminution – dismissal – discipline or redundancy.
Transmitter – Subordinate
In this scenario – it’s the employee assuming some control of the absent manager, also known as the “tail wagging the dog.” Associations include – disempowerment and undermining of authority, lack of control, poor performance, lack of performance management, lack of staff turnover, ineffective supervision, poor stratification and.
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