Transitional Objects and Phenomena
This classic 1953 article by DW Winnicott introduces the important concepts of transitional phenomenona and transitional objects. It is remarkable how durable this original thinking is when it comes to psychoanalytic theory and in particular its application to organizational culture, play, and the potential (psychological) space with the capacity for holding, containment, negative capability, necessary for creativity and imagination.
Following Winnicott’s direction, productive and facilitative leadership in organizations requires good enough holding. Good enough of course implies that no one is perfect and we all can be neglectful at times. Babies have teddy bears and blankets, what do employees and workers have as substitutes in the absence of the presence of leaders?
International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 34:89-97
“Samuel hurried in and grabbed the first seat available. Having quickly sat down he slowly looked up. What was going to happen? To his relief the group leader welcomed him to the meeting as did others. “
What makes leadership “good enough”?
“…the “good enough” leader (GEL), like the “good enough” mother, does not try to be obsessively and compulsively
perfect, machine-like, in his or her attunement with and response to the organisation…The “good enough” style of leadership contrasts with two culturally widespread and familiar styles of leadership…“hard” and “soft.”
Trust at Work: What it Means for Identity
“What has been referred to as generalized trust has been advanced as a condition for self-identity and the absence of such trust has been found to lead to a corroded sense of self…This study advances the idea that trust may play a similar role in organizations…”