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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

strengths.

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

adult life."

"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

908-281-3119

(or E-mail: princeton@cjwn.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

development

for PricewaterhouseCoopers, and she has also worked in organizational

development at Rosenbluth International and Prudential Insurance and

Financial Services.

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

practice.

The pair interviewed 35 women in all levels of management and

different

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

changes."

The book offers case histories and worksheets so women can evaluate

their characteristic roles.

What are these roles? Women sometimes spontaneously refer to

themselves

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

one."

The Mavericks are the "difficult" children. They

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

rebelled,

and they keep on rebelling. "They assume a role that is

independent

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

alienating

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.

The Pleaser needs to be liked and accepted. She takes

orders well, and it is important for her to please her boss, her

clients,

and her co-workers. She wants to get good performance appraisals and

may thrive in an authoritarian situation.

The Peacekeeper aims to avoid conflict at all costs. She

is good at selling herself, is outgoing, and is good at managing

teams.

The Entrepreneur’s goal is to develop a new idea. She

is self motivated, innovative, and very risk-tolerant.

The Caregiver wants to take care of everyone she comes

in contact with. She tends to be over responsible for people, and

to take on other people’s troubles as her own.

The Survivor is often reactive and helpless. "But

while she feels like she is stressed and has no control, she is

persevering

and adapting to a variety of situations," says Kafrissen. "But

that is not something she will focus on."

"The feedback we are getting is, that to a woman, this book

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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