Joy and interpersonal relationships

This weekend’s garage sale finds included a dog-earred and musty copy of Will Schutz’s book on Joy. Joy for me, because it is from 1967 (I was a mere baby) and details the thinking behind his interpersonal assessment tool the FIRO-B. I have used the FIRO-B in coaching leaders and it is useful. It describes a propensity to be motivated by one of three needs: Inclusion, Affection or Control. These needs can be key drivers, especially if they are unmet. This book is especially interesting and fun for me, because it talks about T-group experiences at NTL in Bethel, Maine – which is where I obtained my OD Certification. I’ve only just begun the paperback, but being reminded of this premise has been useful for some current work. What’s interesting is sorting the difference between the three needs. Behaviour that looks like it is driven out of a need for inclusion, can really be driven from the Control need.  Generally, both Inclusion and Control are demonstrated in groups – while Affection is more one-on-one. I believe I have a high need for Inclusion, but I also know that I have Control needs, and Affection needs (of course). It may be that of all the needs, Inclusion is most lacking for me as I work alone as an entrepreneur. It’s true when I facilitate groups I use the term “we” (telling the group first that I tend to do that – use the royal we). I work better when I am engaged in the work of the group – moving along side them – not leading out front or taking up the rear.

In my youth, I believed that the best facilitator should be objective and neutral – sitting on the sidelines and at the whim and mercy of the tides of the group. However, I found that it was more useful to admit to being part of the room. The dynamics of a group changes when I facilitate it. Let’s admit that and work with it.  Recently I was told by a client that the work I had done months ago with her Board was still being felt. She said that I had energized them and that they were still highly committed and working well, and hard, together. I recall how much I myself cared about the work they were doing – a little dispassionately – at the time. What I think I brought to the group was energy – my energy infused them. Perhaps my new and enthusiastic exposure to their work was a good reminder of what they are capable of. I often find myself amazed and excited by the possibilities in front of my clients (in front of us I am wont to say).  So, my need for Inclusion is clear. Is it healthy for the all the groups I facilitate? Another post, another day. When the book is done.

2 thoughts on “Joy and interpersonal relationships


  1. Do you suppose that one’s perspective changes depending on the degree to which needs are met? Was your youthful view about objective facilitators based on your needs at the time or on your experience with life? Do tell, and yes, dear, I am reading every word you have written here and hanging on all of them . . .
    Love
    Andrew


  2. Well, William’s theory is that you have an innate need for Power, Inclusion or Affection. As one of 9 children (7th as you know, so not much status) I suppose I coul d have been conditioned to need inclusion, or want my un-met needs for power or affection met….hmmm, I still think I have a high need for inclusion – even though I am a much more experienced facilitator – but I get that need met in places like Facebook and my family not on my client’s dollar…
    Thanks for reading honey.
    Jill

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