Nine minutes passed before Jean finally released the crease she’d been clutching between her eyes. As if on cue, her entire body followed suit, settling into a more peaceful, Adagio tempo. Her shoulders relaxed, her breathing deepened and her hands unclenched. For the first time in a long while, she felt understood, seen, and dignified.
Jean, my newest Five Archetypes client, was an HR leader at a major marketing firm in the Midwest. She expressed that I was the first person to truly comprehend the frustrating work dynamics that had been plaguing her for eight months. She was amazed that I could grasp the patterns at play without requiring an exhaustive account of her story.
This scenario was a common one. New Five Archetypes clients often arrive drained, having expended precious energy attempting to “tolerate” uncomfortable work relationships until the struggle becomes unbearable, impacting both their productivity and well-being.
Jean’s challenge centered on what seemed like an insurmountable communication issue. While leadership believed they were delegating clearly, tasks weren’t being executed as expected. Simultaneously, the staff felt neither respected nor empowered to make decisions they believed they had earned the right to make. A chasm separated the two sides. Jean was disheartened and desperate for a solution.
Jean, while relieved by my rapid understanding of her situation, the underlying dynamics, and the straightforward solutions, was curious about the unique aspects of the Five Archetypes system in contrast to other programs. Her journey to discovering the Five Archetypes came after investing extensively in programs that provided temporary relief from her team’s discomfort. However, these programs lacked the guidance to navigate high-pressure situations, where default and habituated behaviors were likely to emerge. Jean’s query is quite common, prompting me to provide a comparison between the Five Archetypes approach and a conventional causal model for resolving unbalanced work relationships.
The Five Archetypes Approach:
Consider a marketing team grappling with communication challenges similar to Jean’s. With the Five Archetypes philosophy, we undertake an analysis of specific pain points, the contextual backdrop, and the nature of the individuals involved. This evaluation aligns each factor with the corresponding archetypes (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood) and their inherent traits.
Through this assessment, we unveil that the team’s discord stems from vague roles and responsibilities (Metal Archetype), staff hesitancy to decline tasks when overworked (Earth Archetype), and a power struggle in leadership feeling a lack of confidence when staff underperforms (Wood Archetype).
The solution commences by honoring the diverse team members juggling competing demands and empathizing with their unique needs (Wood and Earth Archetypes). Once mutual understanding is established, we can introduce structured roles (Metal Archetype) and foster open dialogues (Fire Archetype) to tackle both staff and leadership concerns (Wood Archetype). This comprehensive approach considers the interplay of these diverse elements, fostering improved teamwork and elevated communication in a sustainable manner.
In contrast, a causal approach might exclusively focus on pinpointing a specific incident, such as a miscommunication during a project meeting. The solution may entail reprimanding those involved, or imposing stricter communication protocols.
While this approach could resolve the immediate issue, it overlooks the underlying dynamics and potential root causes that contribute to recurring conflicts. The team might continue to grapple with challenges rooted in unaddressed leadership struggles or ambiguous roles, as the broader context remains unexplored.
In summary, the Five Archetypes approach offers a more holistic understanding of workplace relationship issues. By delving into archetypal dynamics, it reveals deeper, concealed patterns and provides a comprehensive framework for addressing conflicts. This method promotes sustainable solutions that foster better communication, cooperation and overall team dynamics.