Fostering Functionality

Fostering Functionality

Download Article


The field of psychology has focused a lot of effort in developing a working definition of dysfunctional states.  Lately the

profession has found that it might be more helpful to define what we mean by functionality.  Some good research seems

to be painting a rather interesting picture:    

The Functional Person:  

 Gives “I” messages

 Feels happy, calm and clear-minded a majority of the time

 Is not easily offended.   Does not perceive most things as offensive or as a direct attack unless there is

 Sets goals

 Has and understands clear values

 Is congruent and open.  Makes little or no effort to hide thoughts and actions from direct observation of

 Feels basically in control of most aspects of their life.  Does not feel uncontrollably drawn into certain

 Generally feels confident and glad to be alive.

 Enjoys the company of others

 Is sensitive to the feelings and needs of others around them and has the ability to choose to put the needs

 Does not live to please, placate or appease

 Does not blame, accuse, or criticize

 Does not withdraw, clam up, or depart

 Does not give gratuitous advice or attempt to control others

The Functional Family or group:

 Is built on a quality relationship between parents,  leaders or members of the group who see one another

 Has the focus of attention on building an environment which will encourage the growth and development of

 Spends more time teaching and mentoring than punishing

 Has family or group members  more interested in listening and communicating than being in control

 Encouragement  is more common than criticism

 All members are involved in the process and efforts are made to individualize the environment for each

 Has love evident.  Energy and effort are spent on inclusion rather than isolation or distancing

The Functional Organization is an organization where the leaders are:

 Both customer and employee oriented

 Customer and employee advocates

 Organizationally astute

 Influencing

 Interpersonally diagnostic

 Goal-oriented

 Persistent

 Organized

 Mentoring of subordinates

 Collaborative

 Initiating

 Professional

 Conceptual

 Innovative

 Communicative

 Self-confident

 Not likely to attempt to force others to follow their lead or decisions

 Not likely to emphasize the outcome over the process

 Not likely to attempt to control through administrative directives or controlling behaviors

clear and direct evidence over a period of time.  When this does occur they either deal with the issue

directly with the person involved or put it behind them and out of their mind.  

others and does not attempt to obfuscate.

thinking or behavior patterns.  

and feelings of others above their own.  

as equal partners

each individual member of the group or family

family or group member

A Sample Corporate Constitution for a Functional Organization:  

As an organization we believe in the principle of promoting the individual growth and development of each and every

member of our organization.  We believe that investing in our employees will ultimately result in an effective and dynamic

team of independent, creative, and responsible individuals capable of making significant contributions.  We believe in the

following basic principles to govern how we work together to achieve the goals of our organization:

1. We believe that there must be a framework of basic principles of honesty, reliability and responsibility, which

govern our behavior as a group and as individuals within the group.

2. We feel that each staff member has a significant contribution to make to all decisions made by and for the


3. We are committed to the idea that the responsibility of taking care of our work environment is shared equally be

every member of the staff.  We will regularly make specific assignments for specific tasks to be done by

individuals, but the general care and keeping of how we work together and the quality of the products and

services that we provide to our customers as well as the quality of the interactions among and between is  the

shared responsibility of all of us.

4. We agree that each of us has a responsibility to help create a positive and nurturing environment where each of

us feels secure, safe, valued, and that each of us knows that we can count on one another to follow the

principles that we have established.  We will help each other to achieve significant personal and professional

growth.  We do not believe in, nor do we accept any behavior that might be considered or perceived to be

sexual, emotional, or physical harassment or purposely offensive.    

5. We agree that any time any one of us feels insecure, unsafe, harassed or not valued that we will discuss our

feelings with the individual most directly concerned to attempt to resolve the situation in private.  When this

direct one-on-one approach does not seem to be successful we will bring the matter to a grievance process

designated by mutual agreement with an acceptable third party.  We agree to be open and direct in our

communications with one another.