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Turnaround Management – an Introduction

Psychological safety, trust and emotional intelligence have been the talking points across industries and regions the past decades. It is time we dig deeper into the psychology behind these terms and the capabilities needed from leaders to enable safe relationships and trust to exist in the workplace. Spoiler alert: Mentalization is the key! In this article, you can learn more about what mentalization is and how to practice it.

The theory of mentalization was proposed by Fonagy (1991) and developed by several authors over time3. Originally used as treatment for patients with borderline personality disorders4, mentalization is today mostly used within the fields of pedagogy and teaching, as a tool to enable better learning in schools and work with kids from 0–20 years of age with different disorders.

However, with the new age of leadership entering our workplace, I believe it is time to bring mentalization into focus also when talking about leadership, adult development and growth. In fact, in many companies we already have – we just haven’t called it mentalization.

For years, we have talked about how ‘emotional intelligence’ has become more important, and training within relationship-building, trust and ‘understanding each other’ has grown tremendously over the past decades. Never has the industry of profiling each other with DiSC, MBTI, Whole Brain, etc., been so productive – showing that the need to understand your own mind, as well as the minds of others, has proven a valuable tool for growth in the workplace. Those tools can be a great help in understanding minds (if used correctly and not to box people in). But let’s look deeper into what the underlying reason for this is – let’s look deeper into mentalization.