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From ego states to life scenarios, Transactional Analysis (TA) developed by Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne provides a theoretical framework to help us become aware of and understand what is happening in the here and now.
With this in mind, Taibi Kahler developed a model in the 1970s describing six personality types. These types correspond to combinations of characteristics related to needs, preferred communication channels, behaviour under stress and, above all, to five drivers (or working styles). These are five convictions that direct our behaviour under mild stress:
- Be perfect
- Be strong
- Try hard
- Please others
- Hurry up
In this way, these five drivers are developed by each of us during childhood following the repetition of messages sent by the referring adults. These drivers correspond to what we identify as the behaviour we need to adopt to preserve our own safety. For example, a repetition of « You’re not nice! » will give the driver « Please others» and « Aren’t you done yet? » will give « Hurry up ». Similarly, « Be a man, don’t cry » will lead to « Be strong », « Come on, try again » will lead to « Try hard », and « That’s good, but you could have done better » will lead to « Be perfect ».
However Claudie Ramond says that these drivers are not universal as Taibi Kahler said, but specific to the Western Christian world. In Asia, as in Muslim culture, the main binding message would be: « Be faithful » (to your family, your clan, your religion, etc.). And others would certainly exist.
The drivers, what for?
Universal or not, the drivers we developed in our childhood are useful when they allow us to interact with our environment and progress in the desired direction. In a professional setting, they can have beneficial effects for the subject as well as for the company if they are aligned with the position held.
However, these unconscious prisons, which are repetitive processes and sources of stress, can be disabling and lead us in the quest for unreachable ideal behaviour, undermining our self-esteem. They are then real mechanisms of self-sabotage of our own projects.
Thus, as soon as we identify and understand our drivers, and as soon as we can give ourselves permission (if it is not given to us by others), we can use them instead of being driven by them.
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