One of the most useful tools in improving communications and interactions between people is the art of Transactional Analysis. Over the next two power ideas we will discuss this concept and help our audience understand a powerful methodology to enhancing interactions between people. In this first article, Senior Strategic Partner, Charles Parnell takes us on a path to a deeper understanding of this science and how it can assist you in improving your transactions with others.

Transactional Analysis is a practical approach to a further understanding of yourself and others. This method analyzes interactions to determine the ego state of people (whether parent-like, child-like, or adult -like) as a basis of understanding behavior. The model helps to explain how people function and express their personality and behavior. This is a model of communication that can be extended to a better recognition of how people communicate in organizations. When people understand the ego states, they are better prepared to understand themselves and the people they interact with. This will aid in employee development and the development of high performance teams. The result will be strategic goal achievement and improved professional communications for the organization.

We think you will find an overview of the three ego states helpful.

  • The Parent ego state begins recording at birth and consists of a huge collection of imposed and external events that happen in a person’s life. The data in the Parent is taken in and recorded “straight” without editing. It is a permanent recording. A person cannot erase it. It is available for replay throughout life and is a powerful influence on everything we do or say. The “Parent” can be caring or critical, depending on what it has recorded.
  • The Child ego state records internal events, the responses of what the person sees and hears. The Child ego can be natural, that is, to act on its own, positively or negatively, not under the influence of the internal Parent, or it can be “adapted” to please the internal Parent. Your emotions and creativity, for example, come from the “Child”.
  • The Adult ego state evaluates and makes decisions after computing information from the three sources: The Parent, the Child, and the data which the Adult has and is gathering.

In summary, in the Parent resides our values and morals. The Child contains our emotions. The Adult contains our logic and thinking. All ego states are important. All of us use all of the states at various times and to various extent. There are situations in management when it may be appropriate to respond from a particular ego state.

It’s very important to understand the ego states so that you understand yourself and others and where you are “coming from”. This will contribute to your growth and the organization’s success. This is the practical application of this theory and model and will help you in transactions with others. As you’re asked to be multi-dimensional and do more with less in this knowledge-based, global interconnected marketplace, it’s essential that you understand, embrace and execute Transactional Analysis methods for improved communications and interactions with others.