GERMAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE : Management & Seminar 6/96
Profile Maud Nordwald Pollock
"MANAGERIN DER GEF▄HLE"
Translation from German "MANAGER OF FEELINGS"
written by Christoph Santner
AT THE HIGHER LEVELS OF MANAGEMENT "FEELING" ARE OFTEN SWEPT UNDER THE RUG, ALTHOUGH THE "EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE" OF MANAGEMENT AND COWORKERS IS A BASIC FACTOR UNDERLYING THE SUCCESS QUOTIENT OF THE FIRM. THE GERMAN AMERICAN MAUD NORDWALD POLLOCK IS THE LEAD RIDER OF THIS MOVEMENT.
Feelings can be like animals, uncontrollable and dangerous. Unexpectedly they jump out of our soul underbrush, attacking us mercilessly. A company does not always compare to a jungle, but the emotional outbreaks of some bosses are not too remote form the attack of a wild animal. When emotions run amok, scapegoats are indispensable. Emotional scapegoats. There is someone and it is a female: Maud Nordwald Pollock teaches the high art of managing ones own feelings.
"A dictatorial boss is menacing" she says with a convincing voice, " it is as if he would direct a weapon at his/her staff. She/he waves a verbal pistol. Actually he/she is really afraid of not having enough authority. Someone who keeps people in fear hurts their company" are some of the emotional mismanagements described by Maud Pollock. The coworker only give "yes" replies out of fear of punishment. The problem situations in the company are kept concealed. Mistakes and failures are swept under the carpet. Often so long until it is too late. Placating keeps the choleric boss temporarily appeased, but that is really all it does.
Maud Nordwald Pollock stresses in her Management workshops, that feelings be taken seriously, she is convinced that "Because the reflection of a Company starts at the top"
If the atmosphere of trust, respect, honesty and goodness - is prevalent, it will filter down and proliferate.
Maud Nordwald Pollock knows what she is talking about. She has been in business long enough. Before this Interior Designer graduate began to teach her knowledge in workshops, she managed the design office of her now ex husband Industrial Designer Charles Pollock, (best known for the Pollock chair of Knoll International.) Along side this Star designer she met many of the world's greats from Agnelli to the Rockefellers. Regardless who she met " No matter how rich or intelligent people are, I noticed , they are still governed by their feelings." Whether someone is seeking recognition, money or power, the theme that was established in childhood seems to be perused life long. "One does not like to hear that. The power struggles and manipulative games played at the executive levels. are mostly duplicates of the power struggles confronted and programmed through interaction with parents or persons of authority."
Sounds psychological, it is that. After her divorce Maud Pollock completed studied philosophy and psychology at Empire State College SUNY. She wanted to understand the deeper purpose that stood behind the often banal business reality. She is convinced today " The work place is the teaching place of humanity. Conflict experienced at the work place reflects the unresolved conflict within ourselves. We create our own lessons." One can advance only when one stops seeing oneself as victim.
Faulting others is not acceptable. Someone who regards a coworker as stupid, has not yet understood that through ones own radiation one attracts exactly the person that one merits. A motivated and creative leadership team influences automatically all the way through. Pollock gives an example. A chemical company was evidence for a highly stimulated motivation. To get an impression of this company the first department to be visited was the plumbers, who the responsibility to maintain the complicated piping system of this factory. The plumbers were all dressed in doctors MD coats, on their lockers were signs like: Dr.`Miller, Dr. McMulligan and so on. the Foreman explained:"You know, we are the doctors, surgeons of the company. We take care of the organs of the factory, all these pipes. My son is a Medical Doctor, he gave me and my men these coats. Since then the men feel that they are appreciated and not considered the lowest entity that only there to tightens screws. Maud Pollock adds, " This story may seem a little childish, and if this action makes the people happy, why not?
For Maud Pollock feelings are not something spongy and diffuse. She has developed a topography of Feelings. The first thing that counts however, is to be able to acknowledge and feel ones own feelings. Perhaps these have been numbed for a long time. " Many don't realize how they make others afraid, or how much fear they have themselves.
"On the executive floor much gets suppressed, by stress but also through Alcohol or medications"
So as not to loose oneself in the thicket of dense Feelings Maud Pollock developed a map to orient oneself in the Emotional jungle. They are listed in categories according to intensity: Helplessness, Pain/Sorrow, Fear, Guilt, Obsessive Wanting, Anger and finally Arrogance It is these collected feelings that in time create the states we mentioned above. These feelings are not free floating in space, if they prevail long enough they may even lock themselves in the physical body. The (German) language expresses itself metaphorically: Pain in the neck, anger in my gut. May other parts of the body are feeling loaded. Hair raising, raised my blood pressure, gave me a heart attack, broke my heart, kick in the gut and so on"
Before Feelings get locked in the body as sick-making entities, they are found in the subtler energy system, the aura of a person. Pollock knows that discussing auras in Manager-courses in Germany could be challenging. However she quotes Dr.Valery Hunt of the University of California and other scientists who have researched with special instruments these subtler energy bodies that surround the physical body. The boundary of the body or person is not the skin. The subtler energy fields are far larger, Pollock knows.
If negative feelings don't get dissolved, they become denser and denser. If they are suppressed instead of acknowledged, sooner or later the body itself signals their presence. "A heart attack is such an example, it is present long before the actual experience. People in business are champions in their ability to kill the signals the body is giving. The organism finally takes action when nothing else will work. The heart attack can not be denied. And when the persons lie helpless in the hospital they are forced to confront and experience all the feelings that have been denying for so long.( Fear, Pain, anger etc.) Hardheartedness - a basic problem of Industry.
In her workshops Maud Pollock strives to stimulate the dissolution of these energy loaded feelings beforehand, to prevent accidents from taking place on the Feeling-Highway. It is very important for her that the participants come from their own volition. Because if a boss orders coworkers to the workshop the unspoken message is:"You need to take this workshop because you are not good enough as you are, kindly change!."
Pollock teaches one not to remain the victim of ones feelings. Often there are small exercises that generate surprising results: Stressful conflictual corporate conferences suddenly become harmonious. Pent up anger at the boss that always had to be swallowed, dissolved, opens the space for constructive discussions.
Pollock demonstrates in the workshop how negative feelings are dissolved; Martin Hiss*(sudonome), for example. A successful architect in Zurich, who nonetheless still doubts his capabilities when he gets a large new commission. What problem does he have, that client have tended after the fact to try to reduce agreed upon payments. "Where is that feeling located?" asks Pollock, "Here" says the architect and touches his throat." Then I am really angry, but unable to show it." Pollock asks him to give the feeling "Form and color." "It is dark red, like a boil that itches and wants to break open" is the answer. The Feeling expert then begins to remove the block out of the aura, with gentle hand movements, pulling it out. Gently she says, "Observe your image for any changes, you need do nothing else." The astounded Swiss observes that "First the feeling image turns yellow and pleasantly warm, then it melted away" Once the opened his eyes again he said "All of the sudden I feel so light - it is as if it magically disappeared"
In the daily business routine Pollock's participants experience similar results. When the salesman frees himself of the pressure of needing to succeed, and sells relaxed and confident, sales go up. The interaction with the co-workers improves measurably when bosses learn to dissolve the ticking anger time bomb.. Or take the story of the section manager who angrily complained in the workshop, about his messy secretary. " She was only mirroring back to him his own unresolved chaos." explains Pollock. "The miraculous happened once he was able to recognize his own confusing mixup. Two day after the workshop he called me flabbergasted, to report that when he got back to the firm, he found that his secretary on her own had diligently tidied up."
BOX : MAUD NORDWALD POLLOCK teaches the high art of managing ones own feelings. The Feeling Tamer was born in 1933 as only child of a Hamburg merchant family. Still a child she immigrated with her mother to Chile and moved to the USA in 1947. In New York Pollock studied at the unique High School of Music and Art. She completed her studies at the New York School of Interior Design. In the 80's she studied philosophy and psychology at SUNY Empire State College. In 1984 Pollock began giving workshops in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, USA and Russia. Her book "From the Heart through the hands was published in Germany in 1994, Italy and Russia 1995. . . `