Gustavus, Pamela


Schulz von Thun's inner team – there are many of us!

"There are two hearts beating in my chest!“ says a proverb. And actually it's not just two. Rather, there are many different parts that live in us and make us complex people. There are many voices within us – and this has nothing to do with schizophrenia, but rather with all the different facets that each of us has.

The communication scientist Schulz von Thun describes these inner voices as an inner team. And just as there are conflicts, conflicting interests, coalitions, alliances of convenience, friendships and antipathies in a real team, so it is also in our inner Team.

The team and team management

In a specific team, the challenging task of the team management is to integrate all these team members, who are sometimes ticking in opposite directions, equally, so that everyone can contribute to the company goal according to their strengths.

And what about your inner team? You are the manager and have the task of listening equally to all team members in order to finally find a solution to a question that all team members can live with well.

In coaching, according to the model of Schulz von Thun, the first thing to do is to identify all team members. Because here, too, it's like in an actual team: some team members are louder than others and thus make themselves heard faster in the team and by the manager.

For example, imagine the following situation: You have been invited to an interview for a position that you actually think is a few numbers too big for you. What goes through your head when you see the invitation?

"Oh God, I can never do that!“
"I WANT this job!“
"I will prepare myself perfectly to convince the managing director.“
"What am I wearing?“
"Oh, that doesn't make any sense. I'm sure they'll notice that I'm not competent enough.“
"Is this even the right environment for me, do I want to work in a corporation?“
"Do not rejoice too soon, nothing has been won yet!“
"That would be funny if I couldn't do it!“
"If only I had gone straight through my studies at that time. And I also miss a stay abroad on my CV!“

And so on and so forth. According to the model of Schulz von Thun, these voices all belong to different team members. They often block each other. If the communication inside is a single mess, we can often communicate and argue in an inauthentic and winning way to the outside world. Going to the interview in this unsettled mood will probably be very nerve-racking and will not necessarily lead to the desired result.

This is also like a real team: a quarreled bunch will not produce good work results. It would be just as unfavorable for the working atmosphere if the same louder team members always prevail. So the approach in coaching is: let's let every single team member have his say and let's find a solution where everyone can join in.

After the first step – the identification of the individual team members – we deal with the good intentions of the team members. Because just as in reality, for example, sales can be annoyed by accounting and vice versa, it looks the same inside of us. And yet both sales and accounting have positive intentions for the company – they just have different tasks and a good salesperson ticks differently than a good accountant. They are both indispensable for the company. It is important to recognize and appreciate these differences.

Transferred to your inner self, this means: the part of you that you may find to be slowing down and thus disturbing is a necessary counterweight to the voice in you that arrogantly says "Oh, courage for the gap, I'm just selling myself so well, so you have to take me!“

After the identification phase, after the team members have all had their say and were allowed to discuss with each other and after the mutual appreciation, the restructuring of their inner team comes. Maybe you decide that the "printmaker" is now allowed to go part-time because she has recently been relieved by the "strong-willed", who in turn is supported by the "relaxed"? And maybe the "examiner", which you have found rather exhausting so far, will become something like a "quality manager" with a new title, which can give you additional security? You can grant team members new freedom, relieve them with other colleagues and you can form new constellations of two. Because you are the leader of your inner team.

The inner Team can be used both for the big questions such as "Should I quit / should I break up / should I emigrate" as well as for everyday situations such as "I promised someone to help with the move / to come to a party and now I don't feel like it anymore.“

Let's take a look at which team you have on board and how they can support you even better in concrete conflict or decision-making situations.