INTENTIONAL RELATING SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT (IRSSA) - Profile Sheet (.pdf)

Bill and Robin Shearer

WHY SELF-ASSESSMENT?

Self-awareness brings the power to control and direct personal growth. Nowhere is this more important than in growing healthy relationships and dealing with inevitable conflicts. Accurate information and awareness about relationship skills and deficits is vital to successful relationships, growth in relational skills, and conflict resolution.

How successful do you want to be in your relationships? How confident do you want to feel in making your relationships work? What would it be like to see conflict as an opportunity for relationship growth? Would you like to have the skill to courageously and positively navigate conflict troubled waters with a sense of safety, and with a confident and clear sense of direction?

Relationships are essential to feelings of success and well-being. Probably, nothing else contributes to a satisfying life, a life of freedom from depression, anxiety, and self-esteem problems, more than solid relationships. Relationships characterized by effective handling of conflict are healthy relationships.

So, want to have great relationships? The starting point is self-awareness, and even more basically, accurate and honest self-assessment.

We've developed the Intentional Relating Skills Self Assessment (IRSSA) to provide such a starting point, a foundation upon which to base all relationship skills and conflict management self-development. We believe you'll find this assessment invaluable in providing useful insights, helping you manage and resolve conflicts, improve and strengthen relationships, and build lasting relationship satisfaction.

DIRECTIONS

The IRSSA presents you with fifty statements divided into ten major relationship categories. Your task is to read each statement and decide the degree to which you agree with the statement or believe that the statement typifies your thinking or behavior. Your choice is to select one of five descriptors, each with a different point value. The choices are: virtually never true (0 points), rarely true (1 point), sometimes true (2 points), often true (3 points), or consistently true (4 points). There are five statements within each category, hence five scores to be added together for a category total. There is a possible range of 0 to 20 total points within each category. Once totaled category scores are transferred to the profile sheet.

The profile provides quick and easy visual interpretation of IRSSA results. At a glance you'll see abilities and deficiencies and understand how best to direct self improvement efforts. Our intention was to provide an assessment that also informs and educates. We wanted an assessment that influences and changes behavior as it is being completed, and an assessment that can be utilized again and again as a self-improvement tool.

USES

The following are possible IRSSA uses:

1. Think of a problem relationship you are now experiencing and assess your mix of skills for dealing with that particular relationship. Remember, this is a self-assessment. You are not evaluating the other person.

2. Think of how you deal with conflict in general and rate yourself accordingly. Strive to capture a general conflict management style.

3. When working with a partner on improving a relationship, both of you might complete an IRSSA and use the results as a focal point for exploring your relationship. Remember to be open, nondefensive, and willing to learn.

4. Using color coding, the IRSSA can be used to look at multiple relationships simultaneously. Simply use a different color pen or pencil for each relationship added to the profile sheet. You may discover that you handle different relationships in different ways. Some you may be handling very well. Others may need attention. The IRSSA will help you determine at a glance what relationships need attention and what specific skills need improvement. Do you treat all of your co-workers the same? How about your children or step-children?

5. Use the IRSSA repeatedly as a relationship check-up. We often tell conflicted family members to do a relationship self-assessment daily over the next six months. This is not as daunting a task as it may first seem. Once familiar with the self-assessment device, a daily check-up takes less than five minutes. We have found that those who take the request seriously and follow through with their homework experience the most rapid and dramatic skill development, and the most satisfying relationships.

6. Working groups, particularly self-directed high performance teams, may find the IRSSA a valuable component of team building or communication skill building efforts.

7. Be creative. There are many possibilities. For example, relatively high-trust partners might complete IRSSAs on both self and other, guessing at how the other might see them (or how the other might complete a self rating). Ratings could then be compared. In the subsequent discussion remember to be nondefensive, open and willing to learn.

Using the directions above, complete the IRSSA with the usage of your choice, afterward transfering category totals to the IRSSA Profile Sheet.

DIRECTIONS: Circle the number that best represents agreement with your thinking ,beliefs, or behavior.

0=virtually never true, 1=rarely true, 2=sometimes true, 3=often true, 4=consistently true

 

INTENTIONAL RELATING SKILLS SELF-ASSESSMENT

1. INTENTION

a. I believe this relationship is important and should be maintained. I accept that as my goal.

0 1 2 3 4

b. I believe that one person can change our interaction. I take responsibility for initiating change

0 1 2 3 4

c. I believe our differences are mostly a case of differing perceptions and that we mainly need to understand and respect one another's perceptions. I intend to understand yours.

0 1 2 3 4

d. I believe I can change the way I relate to you and that these changes will help our relationship.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I believe conflicts are inevitable in a relationship and are an opportunity for relationship growth. I accept the need to work with conflict in a positive, relationship enhancing way.

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total______________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

2. SELF-AWARENESS

a. I am aware that my self talk and beliefs influence my behavior and choices when I'm responding to conflict.

0 1 2 3 4

b. I am aware when I'm responding to conflict by being up-tight with rapid or shallow upper chest breathing and increased muscle tension.

0 1 2 3 4

c. I recognize in myself tendencies to be defensive and self-protecting.

0 1 2 3 4

d. I recognize my difficulties in seeing the other person's point of view during conflict.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I quickly see my choices as between being open and nondefensive, or closed and protected

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total_______________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

3. CHOICE AND SELF-MANAGEMENT

a. I am able to use my awareness of up-tight feelings stemming from conflict as a signal to consciously begin calming myself.

0 1 2 3 4

b. I am able to rapidly change my breathing from upper chest, shallow or rapid breathing to abdominal breathing as a necessary immediate step in self-calming.

0 1 2 3 4

c . I am able to use my awareness of muscle tension in my upper body, particularly in my head, face, neck and upper torso, to quickly begin relaxing those muscles.

0 1 2 3 4

d. I am able to use my awareness of conflict-escalating self-talk as a cue to shift to relationship preserving and relationship enhancing self-talk.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I am working on increasing my ability to rapidly shift from defensive and reactive, to calm, open, and willing to learn.

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total_________________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

4. RESPECTING AND ACCEPTING

a. I value you as a person and see you as a unique individual, with the awareness and wisdom of your own experience, entitled to your own perceptions, thoughts, and feelings.

0 1 2 3 4

b. I support and encourage you being in control of your own life. I will respect your choices even though I choose differently.

0 1 2 3 4

c. I may not agree with you, but I will not put you down for your beliefs or perceptions.

0 1 2 3 4

d. When you disagree with me, I will do my best to not be defensive or argumentative.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I do not belittle you, use sarcasm, name-calling, or speak to you contemptuously.

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total________________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

5. FOCUSING, ATTENDING, UNDERSTANDING, AND EMPATHY

a. When you make it clear to me that you want to discuss an issue of importance to you I give you my full attention. If that is not practical at that particular moment, I set a time with you when I can fully focus on you.

0 1 2 3 4

b. When appropriate (not while driving), I face you directly with relaxed and open body posture and good eye contact. Nonverbally, I communicate that I value what you have to say.

0 1 2 3 4

c. I may not agree with you but it is vital that I understand and respect you.

0 1 2 3 4

d. I strive to capture the experience of walking in your shoes and experiencing your feelings as you experience them.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I tune into and track both your thoughts and your feelings. I ask questions to understand you better. I check out my perceptions. A major goal for me is for you to feel understood.

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total_______________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

6. ACKNOWLEDGING AND INVITING

a. I demonstrate my willingness to follow your train of thought without sidetracking you with my own thoughts or agenda.

0 1 2 3 4

b. I stay with you as you speak, regardless of my agreement or disagreement, without blocking or being reactive.

0 1 2 3 4

c. I find a way to connect with you by letting you know I hear you and respect what you have to say as your truth. It is necessary to listen. It is not necessary for me to agree.

0 1 2 3 4

d. I encourage you to continue telling me your story until you feel finished.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I find a way to communicate to you that what you are saying is important to me and I will take time to listen.

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total________________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

7. ASSERTIVE, OPEN, AND SELF-REVEALING

a. In our interactions, I strive for equality and symmetry of air time. We each get to talk and be listened to with no one dominating the conversation or monopolizing the time we have for discussion.

0 1 2 3 4

b. I say what I mean. I don't agree or say "yes" if I feel differently or mean "no."

0 1 2 3 4

c. I don't have to appear perfect. I am willing to hear your complaints and I am willing to discuss my shortcomings as well as my strengths.

0 1 2 3 4

d. I talk to you about what I perceive is going on with us in the "here and now," in the moment. I do not "gunny sack," avoiding issues by stuffing and stacking my thoughts, feelings, and resentments until they can no longer be contained. I show respect for you by letting you know where I am coming from.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I am willing to take risks in our relationship by sharing my true needs and feelings, even though I may feel awkward, embarrassed, or vulnerable. I'm betting on our relationship and my belief that honesty and openness is indispensable in relationship building.

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total________________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

8. LANGUAGE CHOICE FOR CLIMATE MANAGEMENT (From Jack Gibb, 1961)

a. I carefully choose my words with the intent of encouraging an open and collaborative climate, rather than a climate characterized by defensiveness, resistance, or a "fight or flight" response. My language conveys empathy and equality, rather than neutrality and superiority.

0 1 2 3 4

b. I describe what I see rather than use words that imply judgement. I use descriptive language to de-escalate and move toward a cooperative exchange. I describe my feelings rather than attack with them.

0 1 2 3 4

c. I choose language that implies an "us against the problem" approach (problem orientation), rather than language that only promotes my agenda (control language).

0 1 2 3 4

d. I "go with the flow" using language that is natural, receptive, flexible, and generated on the spot, communicating a willingness to follow the conversation wherever it may lead and however it evolves (spontaneity language). This is in contrast to strategy language that sounds rehearsed and conveys a preset or hidden agenda.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I demonstrate a willingness to be influenced by you, a willingness to be persuaded, even changing my mind if you are able to show me a new perspective, or show me something I've missed (provisionalism). This attitude is in marked contrast to certainty language that conveys a determination to stick to your own viewpoint, unmoved by anything the other person may want to contribute.

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total_____________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

9. STAYING TUNED IN TO THE PROCESS

a. I strive to be aware and stay aware of process as well as content. Content is the subject of our communication, what we are talking about, while process is the way you and I relate. I believe a focus on how we relate is often the key to building our relationship and producing a collaborative effort

0 1 2 3 4

b. When I see us stuck or at an impasse about an issue, I invite you to join with me in discussing the process and how we as a team might do it better or differently.

0 1 2 3 4

c. I work to clarify confusion and misunderstandings during or interaction. I focus on the process so as to not let the discussion become sidetracked into a debate over who is right and who is wrong.

0 1 2 3 4

d. I am alert to nonverbal cues as our discussion proceeds, looking for indicators of problems in our communication. I use this awareness to describe what I'm seeing and invite you to work with me in getting our interaction on the right track.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I schedule and prepare for important relationship talks.

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total________________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

10. FOLLOW-THROUGH, FOLLOW-UP

a. I make an effort to focus on interests (what we each want) and options (our possible collaborative or win-win actions), rather than our surface positions (our immediate assertions, usually related to who is right or wrong, good or bad).

0 1 2 3 4

b. I look for solutions where we both benefit, searching for options (often creative) where we both gain.

0 1 2 3 4

c. I frequently "check-in" with you during our interaction to get your thoughts on the process, i.e., what is helping or not helping.

0 1 2 3 4

d. I do not become complacent about our relationship. I make it a point to frequently observe, listen, and invite your input and feedback on relationship matters.

0 1 2 3 4

e. I am proactive about relationship building. I do not wait for problems to develop in our relationship. I look for ways to build open communication, trust, safety, and a sense of productivity, optimism, and satisfaction.

0 1 2 3 4

Category Total______________(transfer to Profile Sheet)

SCORING

Add the scores for each statement for a category total. Enter all ten category totals on the attached Profile Sheet by puting a dot at the column midpoint corresponding to your score. Connect the dots and you have an "at-a-glance" way of viewing all your scores in a "profile" format.

Remember, there are a number of possible uses. We haven't exhausted all the possibilities. It's okay to be creative and design a usage that is useful to you.

Copyright 2000 William. C. and Robin L. Shearer. Permission is granted to Bill Shearer's students to freely use this instrument, giving full credit to authors.

 

© 2005 William Carey Shearer Ph.D., M.B.A., M.P.H
Robin L. Shearer M.F.T., R.N., M.A., M.P.H.

© 2006 Alternative Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Website Managed By RedFusion Media