More about FIRO

FIRO Element B > FIRO

The so called FIRO-theory, formulated by Will Schutz, is a lot about our emotions and how these affects us in relationships to others in groups and how this in turn effects our effectiviness.

The different phases of FIRO

The effectiveness when it comes to solving tasks is the greatest in the so called openess phase of FIRO when the least amount of energy is used up by the relationships in the group. The second best effectiviness occurs in the phase called inclusion and the most ineffecient group when it comes to solving tasks usually appears in the control phase where a lot of energy is used up by the relationships in the group.

A lot of organisations that enter the conflict filled and energy consuming control part of this model choose to re-organise or hire a new leader or other personell, which causes the group to become more immature and return to the first stage, again called inclusion, which is characterized by insecurity and questions regarding acceptance, a seemingly more comfortable working climate without any larger conflicts.

Both groups and couples

The FIRO-theory is applicable on groups from two people all the way up to nations. For example in an intimate couples relationship the first stage is equal to the exiting time when you get to know one another and put a lot of effort in to keeping up a good image. The following restphase in turn is equal to the falling in love when everything (almost) is fantastic and amazing.

Then comes the time when one discovers that the other maybe is not everything you thought/wanted him or her to be. Conflicts start to arise on all kinds of matters, equaling the control stage.

Here the relationship comes to a crossroad, either divorce (and back to the seemingly perfect inclusion stage in a new relationship) or working through the conflicts and learning to appreciate one anothers differencies.

FIRO illustrated as a boat trip

Sometimes this model is likened to a boat trip, where in the inclusion phase a part of the group is sitting at the boat which is still by the dock, others are standing on the dock and wondering if the should get in the boat or not.

In th control phase everybody is seated in the boat that has now left the dock and headed out onto the water, but everybody is rowing in different directions, or not rowing at all, and nobody really knows who really is in charge.

In the openess stage each and everyone has found their role and rowing now takes place in a common direction. There is a strong feeling of togetherness and common goals. The leadership shifts according to the competency needed at a certain time, situation or task.

Thereby FIRO can help you attain a situational leadership. It gives a good foundation for your leadership training and a way of working with this model is using one of the worlds most widely spread tools for self assesment, FIRO-B ™.

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