Transactional analysis: what is your controller?

There are many reasons why people behave differently from each other. One concept of transactional analysis (developed by Dr. Eric Berne in the 1950s) is that everyone has drivers (or work styles), which are established in early childhood. They come from the environment around you and from the way other people treat you. The messages you were given when you were young can influence how you think and behave as an adult.

Drivers are characteristic ways of behaving, which are generally strengths, but can turn into weaknesses under stress.

There are five identified drivers. You may find that you identify with a partner and you may recognize some in other people.

To be perfect

If your style is Be Perfect, it means that you will be really good at making accurate and detailed reports, you will look neat in your appearance and you will value cleanliness and order. However, it can also mean that you believe that everything you do must be absolutely correct. You may not be satisfied with anything you do, because, in your eyes, it will never be good enough. Delegation can be difficult because it is difficult to trust others to do it well or because other people may find it difficult to accept your standards.

Hurry up

If Hurry is your preferred style, you will get a lot done in a short amount of time, however, you may find yourself overloaded and taking on too much. You will always be in a hurry, you will often be late for meetings, and you will always put things off until the last minute before they are done. You may find that you end up with too many appointments in one day and may appear impatient to others.

Try hard

If you have the Try Hard style, you will love new projects and new things to do, and you will work well under pressure. You likely believe that your personal worth comes from the amount of effort you put into things. You may be more committed to trying than to being successful. Others may get frustrated if you turn small jobs into big jobs to increase the amount of effort you can put in.

Be strong

If you have the Be Strong style, you are great in a crisis, but you can seem distant. You believe that your own worth comes from not revealing your feelings, from being the one who takes everything on your own shoulders instead of asking for help. In turn, other people may assume that you are not emotional and that you do not need positive touches.

Please others

If you have the style of pleasing others, you will be a great team member and enjoy pleasing other people. You will believe that you should always do what others ask of you to be valuable. You feel guilty for saying no, even when the request is unreasonable. You may find that you accept work or invitations from others rather than working on your own priorities. In turn, other people may become frustrated by your attempts to please them and interpret your actions as insincere.

Manage your drivers

The descriptions should have helped you identify what drives you. It helps to recognize them in yourself and in others, as it helps you work on your strengths rather than letting go of them.

Self-awareness helps you identify how you can change the way you think and behave to be more effective. Therefore, you can choose to change your behaviors in one of the following ways.

If your style is Be Perfect, believe that you are good enough as you are.

If yours is Hurry up, take your time.

If you try too hard, do it for a change!

If you feel like you need to be strong, take the opportunity to be open and express your needs from time to time.

For those of you who please others, please yourself for a change!

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