There are many studies on what is assertiveness and how to develop it. Building on this, I would like to present the deeper psychological foundations of interpersonal communication and conducting dialogues in various life roles, not only at work.
Understanding the roles we assume in relationships with other people can greatly help in developing the ability to be assertive and practice flexible assertiveness according to the needs of the situation.
Being aware of the level at which we enter into some kind of dialogue or conflict and with what level we are dealing with another person can significantly shorten the time of reaching an agreement and make our ability to be assertive rise to a higher level. Hence the name of the series of these posts: Assertiveness Coaching - Master Class.
I found three fantastic articles that originally appeared in the bimonthly "The Meaning". Their author is Agata Domańska, a sociologist and journalist.
3 states of our self that take part in relationships with other people
Adult, Parent, and Child are the 3 states of our self that we use in contact with other people. It seems logical that you are "taking" an Adult with you to work. Unfortunately, you are much more often a Parent or a Child in the company.
The creator of transactional analysis, Esic Bernem, believes that every contact between people is the so-called transaction: action and reaction, stimulus and response. Transactions take place between the states of our Self.
During the transaction, all 3 individual roles can take the floor at once. During one conversation, up to 6 people can meet - and try to "get along" - up to 6 people!
So, if you want your message to reach the listener, you have to decide which level and state of the listener you will turn to.
How can transactions occurring in relationships between people be divided?
Transactions between people can be divided into parallel and crossover. We deal with parallel ones when the response to the stimulus comes from the Ego state of the interlocutor to which we directed it.
For example, you, as the Parent, speak to the Interviewee's Child, and he replies as the Child to your Parent. It is best to meet at the same level: Adult-Adult, Parent-Parent, and Child-Child. Then contact gives the most satisfaction and is the most fruitful.
Such transactions give a sense of security, enhance identification with the group, and facilitate cooperation.
Unexpected role changes
However, there may be times when you speak to an Adult to Adult interlocutor and he or she responds from the Parent or Child level (this is probably the most common configuration). For example, as an adult, you tell your friend: "The meeting is on time", and she replies from the parent level: "It is not your role to educate me."
Such an exchange may end in a quarrel, reproach, or competition of needs and emotions (here the Children compete) or opinions and values (here the Parents compete). As a result, the transaction will be terminated. It can only be continued when the Ego states of the interlocutors meet on one level or in a parallel arrangement.
All these states of the self are a bit like uninvited guests: they appear and take control of our behavior, and it takes place outside our consciousness. Many day-to-day events in the company can recall an event from the past and trigger an automatic response. This baggage from the past can be activated at any time.
Wise Assertiveness - So how do we recognize what condition we are in?
Watch yourself and others. Analyze which pattern appears most often in your behavior. But also watch people. They act as a mirror in response to your behavior.
For example, if someone is unreasonably rebelling against you, you are likely acting from the position of the Parent and he is playing the role of the Child.
Imagine, for example, that you have been entrusted with leading a project. What do you think? What's your first reaction? When it comes to your mind, “Oh, great! Something new, finally I will not be bored ”- you react from the level of the Child (similarly when you think:“ I can't cope ”).
When you say: "I need to see what awaits me, know the conditions, maybe talk to someone who has already done something like that" - Adult starts. And the Parent will say: "If I do not mobilize myself, I will achieve nothing."
In the following episodes, we'll tell you more about the individual states, their most distinctive responses, and how to deal with situations of disagreement.
Coaching sessions can be a valuable opportunity to become aware of the states in which we conduct our dialogues, as well as to start a change in this area. The ability to flexibly use the various states of our "I" is priceless and testifies to true maturity. This, in turn, makes the art of assertiveness very mature and takes it to a higher level.