Thursday 9 Sep 2021
⏰ MELBOURNE TIME
9.00 – 11.00 am
⏰ LOCAL START TIME
Dr Barry Rubin
Owner & Lead OD Consultant, TeamPath Inc., USA
Barry’s life’s work is centered on helping organizations improve performance by developing work cultures where employees more fully engage with hearts and minds. Over the last 25 years, he helped many well-known companies achieve their human development (teams, leadership) and culture building goals (empowerment, continuous improvement). Learning about and developing leaders with the emotional maturity to nurture and strengthen these cultures is the major interest area of his work and study. Barry has a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding University in Santa Barbara, California.
Pivotal Development Events in the Lives of Emotionally Mature Leaders: A Psychodynamic Perspective
To succeed in uncertain times, organizations must develop work cultures where employees adapt and thrive (Hughes et al., 2013). These cultures occur as a function of their leaders’ emotional health or maturity. Improving our effectiveness at developing highly mature leaders is the main driver of this research. Laurence Gould (1993), a pioneer in the use of psychodynamic theory in organizations, described these leaders as having “sophisticated skills, competencies, attitudes and knowledge about systemic and psychological forces that drive and shape organizations and the people in them” (p. 50).
Narrative inquiry was used to explore the experiential content and context of the pivotal developmental events in the lives of 15 emotionally mature leaders. Experienced leadership developers nominated study participants they knew well and who scored high in psychological health on a clinical diagnostic. Thematic analysis led to two maps/macro-groupings (Childhood/Adolescence and Adulthood) and seven overall themes.
Thirty-seven subthemes were assigned according to one of three different types of participant experience: (a) nurturing (e.g., family support and guidance; profoundly empowering mentors), (b) difficult/challenging (e.g., being an outlier; feeling shame or neglect; navigating cultural juxtapositions), and (c) those that described participant nature (e.g., empathy for others; true to beliefs; inspired by helping others flourish). Psychodynamic theory was applied to understand how pivotal events cause development to the extent the study allowed.
The findings suggest that psychodynamic theory provides the richest framework for understanding how mature, integrated leaders develop. Further, by using the clinical lens to explain pivotal events of the nurturing type, a clear connection is seen between psychodynamic theory and how it enhances the practice of organizational development. The study serves as a blueprint for accomplishing this. Finally, to most fully understand vertical development, a case is made for bringing temperament theory (nature) into the dialogue. A route for that exploration is proposed.
Small group discussion; impressions of the paper and developing questions for the presenter
Discussion forum with the presenter; moderated for the speaker to elaborate their ideas
Discussion forum with the presenter; themes from the discussions
Whole symposium open reflection discussion