Vol 1. Ed 2 June, 2004
Now for our June Newsletter, with an opportunity for you to consider some ideas we want to put forward about feelings and values and their relevance to the workplace.
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|An Interactive Quartet - Four Learning Elements
Our view here is that a business or company is going to achieve enhanced performance and improved morale if a 'Quartet of Learning Elements' are involved interactively.
The 'Quartet of Learning Elements' I am talking about are
For a long time, educational processes (training, included) have focused on two, only, of these elements ie. information/ideas and concepts. In other words, the cognitive dimensions of learning have been dominant, and the other elements of learning (values and feelings) somewhat neglected.
Yet we know there are two way interactive processes between values and behaviour and feelings and behaviour.
Behaviour is what is already observable in the workplace - whether it is the worker's, the manager's or the client's behaviour, and if we are going to make sense of such behaviour, all four elements need to be seen to be part of the equation.
Consideration about values and their importance began to be more clearly recognised in the writings and methods emerging from the study of values in the 'seventies'. A model developed by Howie Kirschenbaum (Advanced Values Clarification, 1973, and other publications) included values with the two cognitive processes. Learning was seen to include:
So, if you were training, say, in the area of "Project Management", this training would include
Similarly, if a manager was attempting to build teamwork levels, they need to include such key values as
You can add any number of other examples.
Clearly, considering the values involved in work processes has strong benefits for any "learning organisation" and Kirschenbaum and others pressed us firmly along that path.
Yet even then the model was not complete. When teaching Interpersonal Psychology at the Queensland University of Technology in the eighties, I added the other important ingredient viz feelings/emotions, and the model became
All four elements are two-way interactive and trainers, managers and consultants, we believe, need to be aware of them all, and deliberately include them in planning any form of workplace learning event, whether that is through training, coaching, teaching, tutoring or other learning processes.
The fourth element - feelings - has considerable impact on what happens in the workplace and not only in the interpersonal dimension. It affects productivity also, because feelings influence the selection of our attitudes to work.
We regularly ask people taking part in our "Supervision Skills" courses what feelings an "ineffective supervisor/manager" has on them and they usually respond saying that type of supervisor causes them to experience feelings of "self doubt, hate, anger, depression, fear and hostility".
When asked what feelings the "effective supervisor/manager" induces in them, they regularly say "contentment, excitement, happiness, personal self-satisfaction and interest."
The good news is that there is now a stream of books and journal articles focusing on consideration of the impact of the "fourth learning element" on the workplace, coming in the use of such concepts as "Emotional Intelligence", "EQ", "emotional maturity" and so on.
I believe you will see much more of this in the next few years.
You will have noticed that we are accredited for the delivery of 360º Performance Feedback programs using Benchmarks and Skillscope®* for executive and middle managers/supervisors. You will find that the "feeling" dimension is clearly included in these processes. The Center for Creative Leadership (Greensboro, USA) in one of their recent newsletters writes:
We would like to encourage you to place emphasis on the four elements of learning, not just two of them, if you want to achieve a more comprehensive approach to leadership, management and training. Values and feelings have such a strong place for "learning organisations".
Note that Responsive Management Australia is planning to add a one day workshop to its list of programs entitled:
"Emotional and Workplace Leadership"
It will be available from early September, 2004.
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Responsive Management Australia
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