At Leaseweb we recently kicked off our Management Development Program. Socrates famously said “Know thyself”, but this is only the beginning. Self-knowledge also leads to a better understanding of the people around us, and the ability to work together in teams. This is why the first step in the program is such an important one: looking into everyone’s unique talents, behaviors, and potential.
Since Leaseweb’s history is connected to aviation, we decided to bring teams to a Flight Simulator session. Besides it being a unique and enjoyable experience, it teaches you that there are many circumstances win which you can’t rely on previous experience, and that our natural, immediate responses to stressful situations are often based on ineffective patterns of behavior. Landing a virtual airplane, without any previous experience, can teach you a tremendous amount about teamwork and the importance of clear communication.
The other two pieces of the first Management Development phase are TMA and Functional Fluency. I will come back to TMA in a later post, but first want to look at the idea of Functional Fluency. Functional Fluency, a model based on transactional analysis, has been developed over the years by Susannah Temple. She began with a few important principles: there is always the possibility of positive behavior in every circumstance, you can choose to react or respond, and that this model works for all forms of leadership (managers, parents, teachers, and pretty much anyone else).
In the flight simulator, and in the broader sense in any stressful or difficult situation, people demonstrate a broad range of effective and non-effective behavior. To really understand and experience this process, the Functional Fluency model provides examples of effective behavior that ca be used to respond to almost every situation in such ways that you and the people you are with will benefit. And this, at its heart, is exactly what a genuine and effective relationship with your peers and manager is all about.
Through the Functional Fluency model it becomes much easier to reflect on your own behavior, as well as that of others. Because we use feedback to learn and develop, this model also strengthens connections by providing the language tools needed to do so effectively and meaningfully. You can both recognize positive behavior and compliment people on them, as well as find the right way to provide constructive feedback about how someone could be more effective if they used different words or actions.
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