Psychological contracts are often referred to in the context of the employer and the employee – what is the expectation, commitment of both?
It sometimes explores qualities of trust, honesty, respect, fairness, compassion. It will often cover the visible expectations and agreements, such as pay, hours, work, training, but more usefully might look under the waterline, beneath the visible iceberg, so to speak. Here might be give and take, inputs and outputs, responsibilities and rewards which are less clearly in play. Concepts such as control, power, innovation, recognition, commitment, respect, loyalty, tolerance and much much more.
At a meeting the other day we were discussing psychological contracts. We were to be a team, so the question posed was, ‘How did we want to be with each other?’
We were to discuss what we were looking for from other members of the team, what we were seeking from the team leader and what we would bring to the team. What our commitments would be in terms of contribution and what we were seeking in return.
As I reflected, I wondered how I could even begin to answer this, as my thoughts and feelings were initially directed inwards, at me. I wondered what my psychological contract with myself was?
Did I respect myself? Did I have compassion for myself? Did I have faith in myself? Was I in control of myself? Did I fully trust myself? Did I appreciate my own being? Did I own my own power?
What are my perceptions of myself, what do I believe about myself?
How am I getting in my own way, either unaware of, or maybe breaking, my own psychological contract even before I entered the room. Surely this is where I should start before considering any team working agreements?
What is my psychological contract of self?