Friday, June 3, 2011

Villain, Victim & Rescuer

I recently finished reading a book called 'Talk it out! The Educators Guide to Successful Difficult Conversations.' It was recommended to me by my Vice-Principal after I was discussing with him how to appropriately deal with a parent who had some 'interesting' ideas about what should be happening in the classroom.

The book is a guide to help deal with conflicts and confrontations which occur in a school environment. A lot of what the author (Barbara E. Sanderson) says is fairly straight forward and common sense, but there was one chapter that I found particularly interesting.

Sanderson identifies three roles that are always destructive in a work environment:

Villain: One who causes a negative impact on others - either intentionally or unintentionally. When confronted with their impact, villains have to accept responsibility and change their behaviour in order to remove themselves from this role.

Victim: Someone who gives up personal power in favour of productive behaviour. Avoiding this role requires proactive behaviour over being a martyr or appeasing villainous behaviour.

Rescuer: Someone who gets in the way of a resolution by enabling the victim in some way. Rescuers should support both parties to find a solution instead of taking sides, acting on someone else's behalf or being sympathetic to the victim.

I think that I have fallen into the trap of being all three of these roles at some stage during my professional career. I'm glad that I can now identify these positions in order to avoid them in the future.

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