«People Matter: A hermeneutic exploration of reflective practice and facilities management Melanie Bull A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of ...»
He also stated that he used to go into meetings with ‘pre-held conceptions’ and having summed up the people in the group he would know what he wanted to walk away from the meeting with. He has further reflected on this stating he can remember seeing people cringe round the table, or close up, or they weren’t as warm to him as they had been before and the shift that now he tries to ‘think how people perceive me, which I would never have done before.’ He refers later in the interview to ‘even now, reflecting, looking back, how do I avoid getting into that place I was four years ago?’ stating that he does this all the time now. He doesn’t want to let old behaviours sneak back in. This does show an ability to be able to critically reflect on himself as an individual and be able to challenge his personal values, beliefs and assumptions. The change in his behaviour has also clearly led to him achieving a further promotion, and therefore this aid in personal development, has benefitted him professionally.
He went on to say that ‘[reflective practice] is a tool I use all the time subconsciously, it is always there, whereas before it was a tool I didn’t even know existed’. Again this statement confirms Dewey’s (1933) principle that it has to be ‘lived’.
Similarly, with PO and Gandalf, they have noted a changed behavioural approach in the workplace which again have given PO further promotional opportunities that may not have been there had she continued to display the same behaviours linking their change with the concept of reflexivity and different way of being.
As I have developed the skill of reflecting I am now able to see the bigger picture and therefore a greater understanding, perhaps even tolerance. I understand I'm calmer, less opinionated and more strategic I guess (although no less passionate); this in itself has opened opportunities to progress. (PO – email response) People are human, people have got emotions. You can’t go into something if it is kind of the harsh hard way or the softly, softly approach and you can’t jump in there; you are not always right. You need to reflect and I think by reflecting it is the only time you really accept your own faults or ways of working and can change them. (Gandalf – telephone interview) This also evidences a growth in their emotional intelligence in relation to management of emotions and their engagement with others (Salovey and Mayer, 1990).
Another interesting view was from LT who referred to the concept of style flex. …reflecting allows you to understand yourself better, and consequently how you interact with others, I’ve unlocked the power of style flex using reflection. (LT – email response) LT has been through our undergraduate programme (as have the other social actors) however she, and others, seem to have drawn from the use of temperaments that we discuss in the Managing People module, and the subsequent concept of style flex. Historically, the concept of temperament from the Roman "temperamentum" originally referred to a mix of bodily 'humors' and was a fourfold typology (Rothbert et al, 2000); a concept was created in approximately 400 BC by the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC). He created the concept of an innate temperament within everyone and the interrelation between bodily fluids (humors) and our emotions and behaviours.
As described by Rothbert et al (2000:123) the humors related to aspects of the
"The choleric individual, with a predominance of yellow bile is irritable and quick to anger; the melancholic individual with predominant black bile is sad and anxious; the sanguine individual with predominant blood, is positive and outgoing; and the phlegmatic individual with predominant phlegm is slow rising in emotion and action" This fourfold typology has been used by varying academics and psychologists including Jung (1921), Steiner (1944) and Eysenck (1967), but there is constant discussion on content of temperament scales (Rothbart et al 2000). According to Merenda (1987) Galen, another noted Greek physician in 2 AD referred to the four temperaments in his writings, which were later translated by Immanuel Kant in 18th Century. Galen felt that the humors were a “determinant of illness, of constitution and of physiognomy1 (Stelmack and Stalikas, 1991:260) Merenda relates Galen to Wundt‘s model in 1903 as a modification of Galen’s;
however, Lester (1990) argues that Wundt’s model only contained three dimensions of behaviour: emotional/non emotional; active/passive and primary/secondary functioning in relation to external stimuli and therefore cannot be compared to a fourfold typology. Merenda discusses Wundt’s model that was represented by Eysenck (1970) as highlighted below. As can be seen in the model it pulls in Wundt’s theory of emotional (E), nonemotional (NE), unchangeable (UC) and changeable (C) in relation to the four temperaments.
The students tended to recognise the typology through colours and therefore may refer to any of the following references - Choleric (red, director), Sanguine which is the art of discovering temperament and character from outward appearance (yellow, socialiser), Phlegmatic (green, reflector) and Melancholic (blue, analyser) as this is the language used during their Managing People module.
This had not necessarily been an aspect that I thought would be considered but they have drawn on their temperaments in recognition of their own adaptation of communication with individuals, and therefore relationships, in the workplace.
Figure 7: Wundt’s model of personality structure2 The module also engages students in self-awareness of their own predominant temperament style in order to enable them to reflect and realise how to interact with individuals both personally and professionally and for them to be able to Wundt’s model of personality structure from Eysenck, H.J. (1970) “A Dimensional System of Psychodiagnostics” In Mahrer, A.R. (Ed) New approaches to personality classification. New York: Columbia University Press.
flex their style accordingly. Other students have also drawn on the concept of changing their behavioural style in relation to temperaments.
… I think around the temperament style, I firmly established who I am and how I behave and that core temperament is never going to change, no matter what. I have reflected and looked at the pros and cons of being the green or the reflector in other behaviours. You know I think that led me to the way I behave with my staff members. I sat them down and said there is a problem here and we need to work out the problem, rather than you know if I was a red I would have said what are you doing you lunatic? I have looked at the cons as that kind of reflective behaviour doesn’t always sit well with busy Directors. So I suppose I have had to kind of match their pace, I think is a good phrase for it, when speaking to them. (Gandalf – telephone interview) Gandalf has reflected on his own predominant temperament of the phlegmatic (green) and recognised the style flex when dealing with people of a different style, although has embraced his natural temperament.
Girl Friday also refers to the understanding of temperaments and acknowledges that this has helped her to work with different people ‘…if you treat different people in a different way you will get a different reaction from them. I think I am doing that a lot more now. I have always had a pretty good relationship with most contractors that we deal with but some of them are better than others at delivering the service… I think I am learning more about them so I can get more from them. I think it is just developing relationships but reflecting on how things have been in the past and how better to treat them or how to work with them.’ Firecracker has tried to influence the behaviours with her team by using the temperaments to get her team to reflect and understand how they are reacting with others and to encourage style flex. ‘… it is something I am trying to get them to recognise because one of the guys was a bit abrupt and I said look you know the reason you get the reaction you do is because of the way you are with people and I did a sort of the colours thing that we did, and worked through all of that and that was quite interesting. I think people learned quite a bit about themselves by doing that. So that has helped.’ Interestingly Sgt Chef has evidenced a change in his approach of dealing with his new boss, he reflected on why there was some difficulties in getting ideas through and he noted She is very challenging you don't go to her with issues you go to her with solutions. Particularly helps with the way I now think. If you go to her she will grind you down and keep going why? Why? Why? Why? So it is easier, if there are issues, to do the reflective thinking, to think about it, come up with the reasons why and then take it to her and it sails through easily. (Sgt Chef – face to face interview) He has learned from his experience and his reflections to recognise the best approach to deal with his senior management in the organisation. He also reflected on his level of confidence on dealing with senior management and almost a ‘eureka!’ moment of realising they are only human beings as well…his behavioural change seems to also draw on a growth in confidence level. ‘I know I have definitely changed because the chief exec has said you interact with people dependent on who they are in a totally different way. So if you are with external people coming in you treat them one way, if the senior management team come in you treat them that way. That comes from being in the armed forces because of officers, sergeants and so on and so forth, the chief exec says you probably won't get over that but you need to treat everyone as equals, don't treat people differently and the change was learning and embracing reflective thinking because I suddenly sat there and thought it is only [John], he is just a man! Yeah, give him the respect for the position he holds and what he does but he is just a man, he is no better than me or my team and now I treat everybody, I believe, the same no matter who I am talking to whether it is Lady [Jane] or a member of my gardening team or a volunteer, everybody is the same.’ It was interesting that there appeared to have been some learned behaviour in there from having been in the Armed Forces from a young age, and this has impacted on him from a ‘rank’ perspective; he also draws on the behavioural change being from a deeper reflection that allowed him to change his own values and beliefs system.
MG reflects on engagement with contractors and suppliers and recognises a need through her reflection to change the way a message is delivered or negotiations conducted ‘For example reflecting on how people deal with the idea of change and looking at ways to make sure the message is completely understood. Similarly I reflect on negotiations with contractors and suppliers and consider what went well and what didn’t to improve my performance for next time.’ (MG email response) Firecracker drew on a recent conversation with her husband which he noted the changes in her behaviour ‘We were talking about something and I was reading him my assignment and talking to him about it and he thinks I am speaking a different language these days and much changed. What have you done to me?’ (Firecracker – telephone interview) Interestingly, whilst joking, she asked ‘what have you done to me’, so perhaps during the conversation there was more personal learning and recognition of those changes taking place at that particular point in time. She also felt that reflection wasn’t a skill to be switched on and off ‘it just becomes who you are’.
She also recognised the difference in the way she communicates in the workplace, and again her reflective practice has helped her to learn when to think about the situation rather than to jump in which under her own admission was the default setting. It is a softer face of FM… If you can see a situation and think about it okay now is not the time to deal with this one. You take it on the chin and say ‘okay, right I have taken on your points, leave that with me’. Walk away, think about it and then go back to them.
Behavioural change is an interesting concept and the title itself I believe could be a thesis in its own right, however through this section, I wanted to understand how reflective practice had influenced behavioural change and it would appear that there are several different elements, including selfawareness and also understanding of their temperament type for some, there is reflection that has led to different approaches to situations and again there does appear to be a strong link with drawing on emotional intelligence.
The final element in this section was confidence, there appears to have been a strong link in allowing people to explore themselves throughout the course by their engagement with reflection. As Girl Friday (face to face interview) concurs ‘I think doing the degree course has made a difference. It has made me conscious of thinking how I react to things whereas previously I might just have acted instinctively, not considering why.’ From an acknowledgement of my own position as a lecturer on the Facilities Management courses, I have noted through their final pieces of course work which is a learning portfolio that confidence is one of the most used phrases in their documents.
A growth in confidence has not only led to personal development but also, for some of the social actors, to their professional progression, as LJ discussed ‘It allowed me to reflect and find true answers to questions that used to bother me.
This has allowed me to rid myself of unwanted baggage. It has allowed me to increase my self-confidence, take on new and scary things which have resulted in several job offers and me being asked to be on a panel as an expert at a the main SHE conference in the UK. I have always been technically able but my reflection is that this process has made me more confident in my abilities as it has allowed me to see other facts of influence which previously I would have blamed on myself. This has made me not only self-aware but aware of others and how they may be feeling and reflecting, this has helped when working with Colleagues in Asia and Europe.’ (LJ – email) The statement above draws on every aspect of this section, including selfawareness, and her own emotional intelligence when working with colleagues from a cross-cultural setting.