Transactional Analysis and Leadership

In the previous post, I mentioned a TA workshop I had the privilege of sitting through with Dr. Ray Quiet. Dr. Quiet taught at Southeastern in Ada, OK for some 38 years and is now in private practice. I thought his two sessions with our congregation were great.

He began his TA workshop and leadership with the question, “what is leadership?” It is the ability to influence others to go in a certain direction that they may not have wanted to go. He then asked what was the difference between Leadership and Headship?

  • Headship is power that comes from an office.
  • Leadership — the process of influencing people
    • The key to good leadership is getting people to do what you want.

A basic truth:

We all think that everyone thinks just like we do, only not as well. We all have a filter that we process information through, people don’t hear what you say, they hear what they thought you said.

Basic Premise of Life:

I am totally responsible for my behavior and you are totally responsible for your behavior

4 ways I am responsible:

1. I am responsible for what I do

2. I am responsible for what I think

3. I am responsible for what I feel

4. I am responsible for what I believe

Our beliefs are chosen: we don’t change them easily

What I do…

  • no one can make you do what you choose not to do
  • the problem is that we impose what we choose to do on others

What I think…

  • We attribute our thinking outside of our-self
    • for example, “it occurred to me”
  • when we take ownership of our thoughts we become more powerful

What I feel:

  • you cannot make someone feel what they choose not to feel
    • you can’t be hurt by the words others say
    • you can choose to receive what was said as hurtful
  • the position of power is retained, if you believe that I am responsible for how I feel

4 myths:

  • I can make you feel bad by what I say
  • you can make me feel bad by what i say
  • i can make you feel good by what i say
  • you can make me feel good by you say

If I have the power to choose how I feel, I also have the power to choose how long I feel it.

All this TA stuff comes into leadership because it gives us a metaphor for how we behave.

For church leadership, according to TA theory, if something isn’t working for you as a leader, your ego state is responsible.

Here is a run down again of our three ego states:

The parent ego: incorporated from our parents, coaches, etc.. This part of our ego holds our beliefs, it protects and nurtures, it directs and controls us. We make decisions from the parent ego. The language of our parent ego is imperative statements.

The adult ego: it is the rational part of us, stores information. The parent ego asks a lot of questions, it reports information, calculates. The language of the adult ego is primarily questions, and rational

The inner child: our intuitive side. our inner child is highly creative. It is the us from somewhere between ages 2.5/ or 3 years of age up to age 9. I guess you could say this is where our emotions come from, yelling, laughing, crying, etc. The language of our inner child is emotional.

Dealing with anger:

  • people are afraid of a loss
  • afraid they can’t get to something
  • to diffuse anger:
    • acknowledge their anger, you don’t have to agree with it, but if you operate from your adult and say, “you have a right to feel that way” and you’ll diffuse the anger

I thought the workshop was really helpful and wanted to share some of the notes I took and recommend some further reading:

Muriel James, Born to Win

Muriel James, Born to Love

Thomas Harris, I’m Okay, You’re Okay

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About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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