This week we learned about the psychodynamic approach. The psychodynamic approach is really about knowing yourself and how you react to the stimulus around you (PSU WC, L.3, p.2). Additionally it focuses on your own experiences and how they have shaped you.
When I was still green as a supervisor, I was very fortunate to have a director that was also a psychology major. (Oddly enough, he also reminds me of my father in his leadership.) One thing I struggled with was my self-awareness and my shadow self. A shadow self is the negative part of a person that they are blind to My shadow self was the fact that I lacked patience with my team. I expected them to know everything that I knew, and became frustrated with them when they didn’t. At one point this came to a head and my director had a meeting with me. He asked me about my behavior, and I was left speechless because I had no idea that I was doing it. He had asked me about a particular situation where I had gotten very frustrated with someone who didn’t have knowledge of our website. In taking that time to reflect, I saw that my behavior was very poor. I told him that it shouldn’t have happened and that I should have been more patient. He then asked me if I had stopped to ask myself if this person should have known the details of our website. Reflecting again, I realized it wasn’t really her job to understand our website. She was an order entry specialist and was just helping out by taking some phone calls for our department. I learned a lot from that interaction and it still helps me to this day. If someone comes to me with a question, I think about if they may have had any training that would help them. I answer their question and, if I’m able to, I give them any documentation that may help them in the future. The situation changes when I know that I have trained a person (some times repeatedly) on a particular subject. However, while sometimes frustrating, it still gives me the opportunity to see weak points in their skill set. I can then take the time to work with them to see if I can help them become strong in that area.
It’s important as a leader to be able to look in the mirror and be able to see your whole self. Not only is it beneficial for your own personal growth, it also helps you interact with others. If my director did not point out my behavior, I could have stayed that way forever. This could have lead to the idea of me being unapproachable. If my team couldn’t approach me to ask me questions, they would never grow. Even worse is that the could have guessed on what was correct, but their answer was wrong. This could lead to poor customer service and dissatisfied customers. I leader needs to be able to see themselves for who they really are.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2017). PSYCH 485 Lesson 3: Work Attitudes and Motivation. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1834746/modules/items/21755072.