From Lorraine Segal’s Conflict Remedy Blog
If you‘ve ever felt like your managers, co-workers or employees were acting like children, you may be right. For better or worse, many of our habitual patterns of communication and conflict in the workplace come from our families of origin. When people bring these unconscious understandings and roles to work, it is a volatile recipe for conflict, miscommunication, and a negative, poorly functioning organization.
Some of the dysfunctional family roles I’ve observed at workplaces include the following:
How can understanding these roles help us in the workplace?
Well, we can’t make anyone else change patterns they are not aware of. But, with support, we can learn about our own patterns and then consciously choose not to act them out. When we make different choices in our interactions, we create the possibility of change, even if the other person is still locked into the old behavior. Our awareness can also help us let go of resentments and find a little compassion for frustrating co-workers who are merely following the only patterns they know.
While many workplace problems cannot be solved by individual awareness, a conflict coach, for example, can help clients assess what problems they can work on and what problems need organizational commitment to resolve. The good news is that with awareness and practice, we can all learn to communicate more effectively and to have more realistic expectations of ourselves and others, no matter what age we are–or feel.