Thursday, October 18, 2012

CORFing

In my previous article, I discussed about Basking in Reflected Glory to enhance self-esteem and boost self-motivation. This article presents a self-management technique which is contradictory to BIRGing in the way it is put to practice. With this technique the idea is to disassociate oneself from anything that may present them in a negative light.

Cutting Off Reflected Failure - CORFing is practiced by attempting to distance or separate ourselves from some failure that may have a negative impact on our self esteem, reputation, or self image.

When your favorite team wins you BIRG saying “we won”, “we were outstanding” etc but when the team loses you end up saying “they lost”, “they didn’t perform”, “they never played like they wanted to win”. This is one example of CORFing. Here, you not only disassociate yourself from failure, you also give them credit for failure or rather put blame on them.

BIRGing & CORFing are easy to witness within the world of sports, but they also make their mark in the workplace. Within organizations, employees are motivated to align themselves with successful projects and products and distance themselves from failures. Although the point can be made that employees are doing it for the same basic self image benefits, they are also motivated to BIRG and CORF for job security, keeping themselves off the radar in bad times and calling attention to themselves in good times.

Over usage of BIRGing and CORFing techniques are harmful for everyone but if one is playing a lead/manager role then the over usage will lead to catastrophic impact as it can push you into a position for ego-preservation. Let’s coin the term BasCor Lead for a person who is a lead/manager and does over usage of BIRG and CORF techniques.
Such behavior can erode followership or a productive team atmosphere as others start to recognize that BasCor Lead is a fair-weather fan, only aligning himself with us when the going is good and “throwing us under the bus” when we hit some rough patches. An effective leader must be willing to weather the storm, sharing in the collective successes but also standing up for their team when things don’t go to plan. For most, BIRG and CORF can be more difficult to accomplish in the workplace as our affiliation with a particular team or project is often more obvious. BasCor Lead and others like him will find a way to do it, though. It may come in the form of claiming to have always disagreed with the failed approach the team took (CORF), or claiming to have been a staunch supporter/leader of a successful project that, in reality, they demonstrated ambivalence toward (BIRG).

However, we must remember that BIRGing and CORFing are not always intentional and that these leads/managers may not have realized the subtle (and not so subtle) ways they have exhibited it. This requires them to create strategic self-awareness of this tendency and the effect it has on team relations, thus curbing its prevalence. One can help their leads/managers by casting light on past occurrences of such behavior and the fallout or ramifications it caused.

Friday, October 12, 2012

BIRGing



Social Identity is a critical component in self-management. A person’s energy level and motivation can be highly influenced by his/her social identity or impression as it directly connects with one’s self-esteem.
Before I start talking about BIRGing, it’s important to throw some light on Social Identity Theory. Social Identity Theory explains how self-esteem and self-evaluation can be enhanced by the identification with another person’s success by basking in reflected glory not earned. Social identity is the individual’s self-concept derived from perceived membership of social groups. Having high self-esteem is typically a perception of oneself as attractive, competent, likeable and morally good person. The perception of having these attributes make the person feel as if they are more attractive or impressive to the outside social world and thus are more desirable to others to be in a social relationship.

Basking in reflected glory (BIRGing) is a self-serving cognition whereby an individual associates himself/herself with another successful individual such that another’s success becomes their own.
What fascinates me most about BIRGing is that the simple affiliation to another’s success is enough to stimulate self glory. The person engaging in BIRGing does not even need to have been personally involved in the successful action with which they are affiliating themselves. Examples of BIRGing include anything from sharing a city/town with a past or present famous person, to religious affiliations, to sports teams. For example, when a fan of a cricket/football team wears the team’s jersey and boasts after a win, this fan is engaging in BIRGing. With regards to social psychology, BIRGing is believed to enhance self-esteem and to be a component of self-management.

BIRGing has connections to social identity theory, which explains how self-esteem and self-evaluation can be enhanced by the identification with another person’s success by basking in reflected glory not earned. Social identity is the individual’s self-concept derived from perceived membership of social groups. Having high self-esteem is typically a perception of oneself as attractive, competent, likeable and morally good person. The perception of having these attributes make the person feel as if they are more attractive to the outside social world and thus are more desirable to others to be in a social relationship.

BIRGing is a widespread and important impression management technique to counter any threats to self-esteem and maintain positive relations with others. Some positive effects of BIRGing include increased individual self-esteem, feeling accomplished thus minimizing inferiority complex. It can show pride of self as well as pride for the other person’s success, thus boosting their self-esteem as well. BIRGing can be negative when done too extensively that the individual engaging in BIRGing becomes delusional or forgets the reality that they did not actually accomplish the successful event.