Transactional Analysis

Learning the Games People Play

People on seesaw

Transactional analysis can make interactions more balanced.

© iStockphoto/3pod

Have you ever experienced a conversation like this?

Manager: Hey, did you finish that report yet? I have to turn it in to the executive team tomorrow, and I'd like a chance to read it over first.

Worker: Why are you always reminding me? I said I'd get it done, and I'll get it done!

Manager: Look, I really need it, so make it happen. And by the way, that kind of attitude is completely unnecessary.

Worker: (frowning and looking down) Well, you'll have it this afternoon, I guess, but I'll need to put a lot of other stuff on hold, so.

Sounds a bit familiar, right? This can not only be frustrating, but also make people feel that the lines of communication have broken down somewhere. Does the worker sound like a misbehaving child? And does the manager sound like a frustrated parent? You might be surprised to learn that this isn't too far from the truth!

This is where Transactional Analysis – the study of human interactions – can help. In this article, we'll introduce you to the concept of Transactional Analysis, and we'll show you how to use it to identify which roles you and your co-workers are using at any given time. We'll also go into some of the games that people can play when they use these roles.

All of this will help you be a better

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