«People Matter: A hermeneutic exploration of reflective practice and facilities management Melanie Bull A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of ...»
It’s been a positive impact and it’s helped me learn more about me as an individual. (ST – email response) I do, if something happens now and it needs an answer now I am prepared to make the decision and stick by it, but I might think maybe I would do that differently next time and there are one or two things that have come up with the new team. (Peggy Olsen – face to face interview) I felt the discussion above from Peggy Olsen has evidenced a shift in their mind set, and again their own self-awareness. They have recognised, acknowledged and even accepted that perhaps every decision they make may not be the correct one and are now more open, and I feel this has something to do with feeling safe within her team, to hold their hands up and state they had made the wrong decision, and look for ways of improvement and to remove blame culture from the team.
As discussed in my preunderstanding chapter, there is considerable literature in relation to nursing and self-awareness and the concept of self-identity to allow the nurse to be open and authentic with their patients (Cook, 1999). Bulman & Schutz (2004) refer to self-awareness as being not only the fundamental skill underpinning reflective practice, but it is also crucial for understanding and developing good interpersonal skills and building therapeutic relationships with patients / clients and their families. I feel now this is equally as true for people working in the facilities management profession, as the role requires them to work with people on a daily basis. This also appears to have been acknowledged through the texts of the social actors. We are also returning to the concept of being open and honest and as Morris West cited in Saunders (1996:41) stated "It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the love and courage to pay the price". To engage in reflective practice we have to be prepared to critique the ‘whole’ and not just focus on the ‘good bits’.
4.2 Emotional intelligence (Emotions, Control and Empathy)
This section will explore the emotional intelligence that I felt was being shown by the social actors, along with my thoughts and theoretical discussion on the concept itself. As Landy and Conte (2010:110) suggest emotional intelligence is ‘A proposed kind of intelligence focused on people’s awareness of their own and others’ emotions’. Another definition of emotional intelligence by Robbins (2002:109) is ‘an assortment of non-cognitive skills, capabilities, and competencies that influence a person’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures.’ The section also includes emotions and control, I originally had this as a separate section but I found that as I entered the interpretation and the subsequent theory, the concept of emotion and control, and managing emotions is very much a part of emotional intelligence. I will begin with the discussions on emotion and control moving on to the text that I felt identified emotional intelligence.
I have drawn on AB’s text in both emotion and control, and emotional intelligence as I felt she evidenced a huge change in her emotional response to change, and the impact this has had on her.
When faced with another impacting change in my working life I looked at my previous reflective paper, focusing on what I had learnt last time and decided on how to deal with this current change differently and had clear objectives of what I need to do/ know for myself. I felt more in control, looked at positive aspects of the change & helped support those around me going through the same experience. My transition through this change had less impact on me emotionally because I had my previous reflective piece to look back on and learn from. (AB - email response) She draws on the impact this has had on her and her emotional response to the change, however in the next section, she also recognises the impact she had on others during the previous change, and has tried to learn how to amend her response. ‘I reflected on how my own behaviour had affected both my attitude & that of others around me and looked at what I could learn from this and change if the situation occurred again. (AB – email response) From my own interpretation and conversations with AB, I believe that AB had quite a large change in her persona during the course, as she had started quite negatively, she started to recognise, through reflection, how she could begin to change and adapt her own behaviours being more mindful of those around her.
Other responses about emotions were quite interesting, especially the use of language used by SW.
It has enabled me to see situations through other people’s eyes in 'cold' reflection. After an incident what I write down I change upon reflection hours or days later as my emotions calm down and I have time to reflect. As a result I am now far more likely to listen to a person’s point of view and confirm I understand it before I put my own point of view across. (SW – email response) As this was an email response I had not questioned the use of the word ‘cold’ reflection, but on reading this the word stood out to me. I felt he was referring to a critical reflection where perhaps he was drawing on more objectivity as he refers to the emotions calming down. This evidences his own self-awareness and ability to manage his emotions in a productive manner and reinforces Salovey and Mayer’s (1990) model as discussed later in this section but relates to monitoring own and others feelings and emotions; discriminating among those states and using the information gained from understanding of feelings and emotions to guide action and thinking.
Others referred to a more balanced approach to their interactions with others such as GJ and VG in their email responses below I seem to operate reflective practice on a daily basis particularly after meetings when I appraise the meeting and reflect on what was said and use that when working on any actions as a result of the meeting, it normally makes my responses much more balanced. (GJ – email response) It has meant that I'm able to become far more practical about my approach, less emotional and am able to take things less personally. Reflective practice has meant that I am more able to take a step back from the situation and take a more pragmatic and objective view of the positives and negatives within each situation. I'm a calmer person now and tend not to panic as much about things. (VG - email response) Both evidenced a change in the way they are reacting and interacting with others, again this is an area that crosses over between self-awareness, relationships and behavioural change; along with their personal growth in emotional intelligence (EI). As Goleman’s (1995) model would suggest, the above comments link to his five components of EI (see page 155).
The Enforcer (face to face interview) has the unenviable position within FM of dealing with car parking, which is always an emotive issue. He has to deal with complaints and mediate situations and he refers to his reflections on the interactions and how he has learned to cope with a conflict fuelled position. He stated ‘…I went away and started reflecting on the conversations I had with people and how I was reacting and what I needed to do to be a bit calmer and a bit more removed from the situation, do the helicopter sort of thing, to say I am here to help you, not to get into an argument with you kind of thing. That is what I learned to do to try to step back a bit more and not let the individual’s attitude get to me. I have tried to do that and I have learned to be more of that nature, to look at it as they are not having a go at me, they are having a go at the situation and that is what I sort of reflect in my own mind and think how can I handle this better, how can I improve?’ Anyone that has worked in FM and dealt with car parking will be aware that this is one of the most difficult, emotive issues and people can be quite rude about losing their car park space, but I felt that he has dealt with this by reflecting on his own responses but also by not allowing this to be taken personally. This also shows some emotional maturity for a reasonably young man. When I questioned the concept of helicoptering and why he did this he stated ‘I need to hover above and just look at it and take all the emotions out of it and look at the problem and see what they are saying … I like to sit above the problem to see the problem from up above, so I can see both sides of the story and try and put together a compromise and a suitable end to the whole issue.’ This showed an ability to not only critically reflect on the situation but also to draw on his emotional intelligence to see the issue rationally and without bias. He recognised reflection as a useful tool with a practical learning experience.
Personnel Penelope (telephone interview) has a strong HR background and she reflected on the difference between herself and other colleagues in being able to ask ‘difficult questions’. Whilst she is comfortable and feels emotionally capable to address issues especially during the current change scenario, she stated that ‘I know a lot of managers would be frightened thinking I don’t want to upset somebody or oh dear what if they start crying and I can’t say that or I don’t want to start opening up this can of worms, which is a good example.
They don’t like to open up and they think if I open it how am I going to get it all in the box again. If I start asking people to think about things and reflect on how they feel and ask about their feelings it is going to be like lancing this boil that is not going to stop, and then I am not sure what to do.’ Referring back to Personnel Penelope’s biographical information, she has a strong background in HR, which may have helped her to engage more with staff and to ask the ‘difficult questions’. She was quite open with her feelings throughout our discussion, and this was obviously something she feels quite comfortable with.
In their email response, DO also talked about understanding self in order to then develop others, which evidences their self-awareness through their personal reflection. This has had an impact on not only self-development but also on how they work with their team.
I think that by understanding myself and how I have arrived at decisions or acted in a given situation has helped me to coach and develop others. (DO – email response) Other elements of emotional intelligence were drawn upon in a more practical way, in respect of dealing with people and meetings; drawing on the importance of the reflective practice.
With this in mind I try to prepare for each of my meetings in advance and then try to reflect upon how the meeting went upon completion. The reflective aspect is particularly important to me, maybe more so that then initial prep as it helps me build a picture of future meetings with individuals so I can adapt my approach with them and better understand what drives and motivates them.
(JoH – email response) I often reflect that I could have handled the situation better, shown more compassion, showed too much compassion, dealt with discrimination better and next time I will not make the same mistake. (JM – email response) Compassion was an interesting concept, and I felt both of the above excerpts linked to the ‘humanity’ skill in decision making (Holian, 2006) and also a willingness to embrace their faults in relation to their human interactions, evidencing a level of self- awareness.
I was in a meeting this morning that was getting very heated and previously I would have jumped straight in and gone, you know the finger would have come out and ‘grrrrr’. But you sit back and think about what they are saying, you think about why they are saying it and then you can still get your point across, you can still achieve what you want but just come at it a different way, because you are not going to achieve what you want by going head on with someone. I was just about to jump down someone’s throat and I thought hold on for a sec, that is not going to get me what I want it is just going to inflame the situation and it wasn’t until afterwards thinking about it and with our conversation this afternoon, that I suddenly went maybe that is a bit different for me… the pause button.
Previously, it would have been thought, mouth gone and now it is ‘thought, ooh think again and then go.’ Firecracker (telephone interview) Firecracker recognised how using reflection enables her to manage her own emotions and those within the meeting, to gain a more practical position and as she said enables her to ‘push the pause button’. You can see she has changed her approach to dealing with difficult situations, with the need to, in her own words ‘thought, think again and then go’, but I believe this evidenced her use of reflection-in-action (Schön, 1983, 1991). She does seem to have raised her levels of self-awareness in relation to the impact she can have on others as well.
In 1980s Gardner (1983, 1993) proposed a new idea to intelligence with seven different types of intelligence, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinaesthetic, linguistic, musical, spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal. He further explained interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences as ‘interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand other people: what motivates them, how they work, how to work cooperatively with them… intrapersonal intelligence… is a correlative ability turned inward. It is a capacity to form an accurate veridical model of oneself and to be able to use that model to operate effectively in life’ (Gardner, 1983:9). This concept was made popular in the 90s by Goleman (1995) who developed the label emotional intelligence (EI).
There has been a continuous debate over the last two decades about the concept of emotional intelligence (Bratton et al, 2011). Mayer and Salovey (1993:434), which predated Goleman’s (1995) work, defined emotional intelligence (EI) as an ‘ability to advantageously deal with one’s own emotions and those of others in problem solving and decision making.’ They based this
around an ability model drawing on ability to:
Monitor own and others feelings and emotions To discriminate among those states To use the information gained from understanding of feelings and emotions to guide action and thinking. (Salovey and Mayer, 1990) As evidenced by comments from the social actors, there is evidence of all of the above being shown in their discussions.