«People Matter: A hermeneutic exploration of reflective practice and facilities management Melanie Bull A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of ...»
As Bratton et al (2011:128) discussed the Goleman (1995) model combines ‘traits with social behaviours and competencies’. Goleman’s model (1995) is
defined in terms of 5 components:
Self-Awareness – i.e. of ones emotions, strengths & weaknesses Self-Regulation – controlling emotions and channelling them constructively Self-Motivation – being internally driven to achieve goals Empathy – understanding emotional reactions in others Social Skill – working well with others, building rapport When drawing on Goleman’s model from the social actors discussions I can recognise all five of his components being drawn upon from the text and particularly the self-regulation from Firecracker.
There are debates as to whether EI can be measured or whether it actually exists (Conte, 2005; Landy, 2005). Although Mayer et al (2008) support the use of EI in understanding and supporting organisational behaviour. Bratton et al (2011) discuss the concept of self-awareness and have referred to the use of 360 degree feedback to further understanding of self-perception. Sosik (2001) believes that leader self-awareness can lead to heightened organisational commitment and trust.
Emotional intelligence (EI) is considered to contribute to leadership effectiveness (Camilleri, 2012). They can be seen as someone who has the complete trust of his/her staff, someone who never loses his/her temper no matter what problems he or she is facing. Another image of the perfect leader that comes to mind is someone who listens carefully to his/her team, someone who speaks kindly, is easy to talk to and always makes careful well-thought and informed decisions. These are some of the qualities and characteristics of a leader with a high degree of emotional intelligence. Research carried out by the Hay Group has shown that leaders who use their emotional intelligence engage their employees and inspire them to do their best. The study, which was conducted on 4,322 participants from 283 global clients from a range of organisations and sectors, clearly demonstrates that the key to performance is a strong self-awareness of emotions to drive the ability to respond to others with emotional and social intelligence with 92% creating positive climates. In contrast 72% of leaders demonstrating low emotional self-awareness created negative climates. (Camilleri, 2012:1) Self-awareness is a key aspect of EI and has been positively correlated with leadership success (Gardner et al, 2005). In research carried out by Bratton et al (2010) they proposed that self-awareness ‘sometimes’ improved leadership performance. The study was based on a measurement of EI. From a personal perspective, this is a misnomer in that EI can be measured drawing back to Conte’s (2005) view of the lack of ability to truly create a measurement for EI.
Empathy forms a key part of Goleman’s (1995) model of emotional intelligence, however Slote (2010:303) draws on the concept of empathy historically stating that ‘Confucian thinkers seem to have had something like our present concept of empathy long before that notion was self-consciously available in the West’;
he continues to discuss how moral distinctions ‘correspond to and can be explained and justified by reference to distinctions in how empathy (or more broadly, empathic concern for others) develops and is evolved.’(pg. 305). He argues that empathy is a key tool to understanding moral concepts and believes that ‘empathy is central to moral life’. (pg. 305).
Caruso, Mayer and Salovey (2002) discussed the findings of Mayer and Salovey’s paper (1997) in relation to their views of emotional intelligence and the four different abilities as branches. The table below highlights the four branches and the skills used under each branch Table 6. Emotions and Emotional Intelligence
Using the model above, I have revisited the text and found that there was evidence of all four branches through the interviews and email responses.
There seems to have been little written about how reflective practice impacts on emotional intelligence, however the social actors are evidencing that due to reflective practice they have been more aware of the their impact on others, their emotions and management of them and also recognised improvements in relationships which is an area to be further discussed. As I stated at the beginning of this chapter, I felt there would be overlap between self-awareness;
emotion and control; emotional intelligence; relationships; behavioural change;
and growth in confidence.
I found it interesting that the majority of research carried out in emotional intelligence involves quantitative research in an attempt to operationalise EI (Caruso et al, 2002); similarly to reflective practice research, as discussed in Chapter 2. This seems to lose the voices or meaning behind the voices of the participants and gives a statistical/tangible view of something that I feel is more intangible. Caruso et al’s (2002) research focused on self-reported behaviour and as they noted there is limited research on emotional intelligence and actual behaviour.
Relationships again could be strongly linked with self-awareness and our emotional intelligence and the influence this has on our behaviours with others, but I felt this stood out as not only a discussion of relationships in the workplace, but also personal relationships and the impact that reflective practice has had on the social actors across varying situations.
The first three statements have drawn predominantly on their use of reflective practice from a professional position As we all probably do, we receive emails from clients/customers, whereas before I would reply straight away, I now wait reflect on the content of the email and if I have to reply I do so in a more constructive way getting my point/return argument across differently (JH – email response) Most recently during a project I was involved with I used RP following a conflict with another individual. RP was useful in this instance as I altered my reaction for a subsequent conflict. Professionally it helps me as a decision making tool.
(MB – email response) I used the practice when considering how to work best with my colleagues. I spent time considering how I had acted with them when I first arrived in my new workplace and their corresponding reactions. Most of their reactions had been unfavourable and so I needed to change my approach. I didn't help that in the beginning, my boss had encouraged me to 'shake things up a little', but on reflection, this was bad advice and only served to alienate me from everyone. Since my change of approach my relationships have worked much better and people have begun to trust me and work with me in a positive/constructive manner. (VG – email response) These have drawn on various issues such as JH’s responding to clients via email, which again could be a whole thesis in itself, there are papers written in relation to ‘flaming’ in emails (Hartley and Bruckman, 2002) and perhaps by using reflective practice and engaging our emotional intelligence the level of these can be reduced. By being aware of the emotional reaction we are having and being able to cope with this and as Firecracker stated in her earlier text, push the pause button, we can prevent relationships being destroyed by misunderstanding of written text. There is always a danger with email as we don’t get the usual cues that we associate with human interaction. As Albert Mahrabian stated (1972) there is proportionately 7% words taken away from a conversation with the rest being body language and facial expressions (55%) and vocal characteristics such as tone/pitch (38%). Therefore with email we are starting with a limited resource. I am not sure that I agree completely with Mahrabian’s percentages however I would suggest that due to the changing environment for communication this is an ongoing issue.
MB refers to using reflection as a tool to aid with conflict, again this draws me to their emotional intelligence and being aware of emotion and control of emotions during their discussions. VG has stated that she was put into a difficult position on taking over her role, and had to reflect on her own behaviours and those that were not really ‘hers’ to enable her to change her approach and gain trust from those around her. As this section and others have drawn upon, trust is important in the workplace to engage staff in an open and honest interaction and to also be able to engage and motivate. This is an area that I am keen to explore in further research post my doctoral study.
Another view from Sgt Chef, specifically focused on FM delivery in the organisation and recognition that relationships are key for a facilities manager, he recognised a change in his own positioning ‘I think reflective thinking in the workplace for facilities managers or anybody in FM, because we are a people organisation that is what we deal with. I used to [think we only dealt with buildings], I actually used to think that way. I used to see FM as I am bringing that, delivering this, stuff the rest. But it is not, you can’t deliver this unless you take into account those who are going to use it. So that is the starting point and I reverse everything now before I do the project and I think of the end user. So I think what the end user’s expectations are going to be out of the property before you can design it.’ This evidences a real shift in position, as the delivery of service is now focused in understanding the needs of the end user and creating positive relationships.
As I read through the responses, there appeared to be several people talking about how reflective practice had improved their personal life taking work out of the equation.
I have found that I listen to my families point of view rather than imposing my view point, this has led to closer relationships and understanding. (SW – email response) From the first time I was introduced this technique four years ago on my Facilities Course I have embraced it, not just using it for my own working life but for my personal life able to deal with my children in a more relaxed manner. (SH – email response) Both SH and SW have recognised a shift in their personal practice, and this feels, again as Dewey (1933) would suggest, that they are using reflective practice as a ‘lived’ practice, this isn’t just happening in the workplace, this is now part of their being.
Little Boy Blue reflected on the differences on his personal life and the relationship he had with his wife; further evidencing a change in his personal self-awareness.
Now I look back and I think you idiot, you could have lost everything because you didn’t step back for a minute and think about what you were like. It is similar, it you like it is reflecting because you are looking back and thinking I did that wrong last time; I am not going to get it wrong again. (Little Boy Blue – telephone interview) Reflection appears to have had a real impact on Little Boy Blue, but also made him realise by reflecting back what he could have potentially lost and then he has used reflection to engage with the present and future.
Throughout the interviews there was a lot of personal reflection on how the social actors have improved their relationships with key stakeholders, colleagues, clients and end users. They have recognised the differences in their approach to relationships, and the benefits they have gained from this.
4.4 Behavioural change
Under the heading of behavioural change, I have focused on areas where people have noticed changes to their own personal and/or professional behaviour and within this topic, there seemed to be a change in the way they used communication; and also style flex. By style flex I mean a deliberate change in communication style to suit the person that you are communicating with. Behavioural change can be linked with the concept of reflexivity;
according to Cunliffe (2009) it is taking reflective practice further in relation to not only understanding our practices but also how we relate with others, the creation or organisational realities' shared practice and also how we talk and use language. We can then recognise how our circumstances and relationships are considered in relation to our behaviours as opposed to merely reacting to them and this can help us to understand and revise ethical ways of being.
I think for me one of the interviews that stood out in relation to behavioural change was that with Basil Fawlty, there has been such a shift in behaviour and he commented on that fact that was also noticed by his HR Manager I always remember she used to say to me ‘where some people take ten words to say something, you generally just take two and sometimes you really should have taken ten’. She said ‘I admire you for your very a to b, straight line, you see the objective, you see what you have to deliver and you will just go straight to it’ And I do, and I will go over people, not career wise, but I won’t listen or I don’t care, I already know how I am doing this, I know how I am delivering it.
Whereas now, managing people – I can’t do that. I want to and it is a physical consideration, I go ‘ I can’t do it that way, it has got to be four stages instead of two- I know two looks quicker but in actual fact four stages might take a little bit longer but the end result will stick and stay and become embedded and become process or culture. My HR Manager said to me ‘you have changed’. I wouldn’t have been considered for this role now showing the behaviours that I did four years ago or two years ago because it is not in keeping with XXX culture or what they expect from managers. (Basil Fawlty, telephone interview) Basil Fawlty’s statement not only highlights the behavioural change, but also the self-awareness that has grown within him. He can now see that his earlier behaviours may have been accepted in achieving a set task, but now he has moved to a more senior management role he needs to consider staff and relationships more and this has delivered a huge change in his own mind-set.