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Prepared for the September 13, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.
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Peacemaker Or Pleaser? The Delancey Group
I can’t count the number of women who say they have
low self esteem," says psychologist Fran Shusman. "They
are focusing on the negatives, but we help them focus on their
We help women to identify the roles they assumed in their families
when they were growing up, and how they continue those roles in their
"The way women assume these roles may impact their leadership
style, communication style, and their `fit’ in corporate culture,"
says Binnie Shusman Kafrissen. www.thedelanceygroup.com
Kafrissen and Shusman, the daughter-mother team who wrote "Winning
Roles for Career-Minded Women" (Davies-Black, 2000), will speak
to the Central Jersey Women’s Network on Wednesday, September 20,
at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Route 1 South. Cost: $35. Call
(or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kafrissen went to Syracuse University, Class of 1990, and earned a
master’s in counseling psychology at Penn and a PhD in organizational
psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology.
Until recently she was manager of leadership and organizational
for PricewaterhouseCoopers, and she has also worked in organizational
development at Rosenbluth International and Prudential Insurance and
Shusman graduated from Albright College in 1964 and was a full-time
mother for 20 years before earning her PhD in counseling psychology
at Temple University. She studied cognitive therapy under Aaron Beck
at Penn and is a clinical associate there as well as having a private
The pair interviewed 35 women in all levels of management and
industries. Some had been clients, some were referred, and others
had been in Kafrissen’s networking groups at Pricewaterhouse.
"I do not like labeling people in any way shape or form,"
says Shusman. "However, in order to understand what is going on
in our lives, it is important to understand the characteristics we
demonstrate. These role categories are a way to enable us as women
to think about ourselves and look at where our behaviors came from.
Once we have some sense of what we are doing, we can make
The book offers case histories and worksheets so women can evaluate
their characteristic roles.
What are these roles? Women sometimes spontaneously refer to
as Peacemakers, Caretakers, and Pleasers. Other roles have been named
the Entrepreneur, the Survivor, and the Maverick. "We all have
a little of all of these characteristics, and there may be more than
six roles," says Shusman, "but usually we lean more towards
were told to be good girls, to be cheerleaders, to "do what we
want you to do, follow the vision we have for you." But they
and they keep on rebelling. "They assume a role that is
to the Nth degree," says Kafrissen. "They need to have their
way in work and personal relationships, regardless of the cost. They
will try to please clients, but they won’t think twice about
co-workers and supervisors. Because they are very bright, people put
up with them."
How a Maverick can emphasize the positive: Work in a company that
gives them the freedom to create their own work unit, so they can
hire people that share their vision. "Create your own department
or leave for an organization where you can," says Kafrissen.
orders well, and it is important for her to please her boss, her
and her co-workers. She wants to get good performance appraisals and
may thrive in an authoritarian situation.
is good at selling herself, is outgoing, and is good at managing
is self motivated, innovative, and very risk-tolerant.
in contact with. She tends to be over responsible for people, and
to take on other people’s troubles as her own.
while she feels like she is stressed and has no control, she is
and adapting to a variety of situations," says Kafrissen. "But
that is not something she will focus on."
is making them stop and think," says Shusman. "Our primary
purpose is for women to be aware of how they function, to go through
the process of deciding to make change. It’s not about rules, but
about how to be what works for you."
— Barbara Fox
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