June is Effective Communication Month!
Since that is one of my most favorite topics, I will spend the month of June sharing important principles and practices that can encourage more effective communications in the workplace.
As human beings we spend most of our time taking in the world and making sense of it through that everyday civilized activity we call “conversation.” We’re wired for dialogue and, under the right circumstances, getting engaged in a good conversation is among the most automatic and irresistible of human activities.
If this is true, how come leaders don’t use this powerful tool more? Conversation is becoming a lost art, replaced by endless chatter, or worst yet, endless texting or messaging. To converse is to share ideas and learn from one another in the process. It demands listening and talking in equal degrees. It recognizes the humanity of those involved in the conversation and is based on mutual respect.
Yet, when I go to meetings in organizations. What do I see? People who spend their time between talking and thinking about what to say next. People eagerly seizing on someone else’s words purely as the excuse for talking themselves. Decisions made before any listening ever takes place. No one is open to persuasion. People with open mouths and tightly shut minds.
Think what could happen if you cut the chatter and start a real conversation. If you let the ripple effect of dialogue take over. How could this change your organization for the better? Let me break the vision of the ripple effect of dialogue down into concentric circles. Imagine a ripple in water, expanding from that center into wider circles.
How do you create a ripple effect?
1. Create a space
You first have to create a space for dialogue among the leadership team. This means creating a space in time, a space where people feel safe to share their thoughts and feelings, and a space where there is trust, a space where creativity is encouraged and cultivated.
2. Expand the dialogue
Using sound principles of dialogue, expand the dialogue throughout the organization. Create dialogue spaces where people can contribute with creative solutions to issues. As each individual member of the different networks applies his or her personal expertise and experience, the “wisdom of the crowd” emerges to solve generic problems. Put methods in place to gather those ideas and translate them into action. To make them part of the strategic plan of the organization.
3. Reflect together
Engage and empower both leaders and workers to discuss how the solutions are working or not, and how they feel. Forming a constant feedback loop the effect of the actions will be felt everywhere in a positive way.
4. Inspire change
When you encourage open dialogue it’s like when you drop a pebble into water; it will splash and then send rings of movement across the body of water. Your small circle of top leaders will serve as that pebble, as the beginning of a wave of change which will reverberate throughout the entire organization. The openness your create among the leadership will be expanded to the larger community of leaders and managers, and influence the whole organization for change.
Remember. . .
The power of the ripple effect of dialogue will increase as networks become more open, and leaders extend their reach by harvesting the ideas of the people in the organization.
Discover How to Lead Through Conversations with my FREE WHITE PAPER. This article reveals powerful reasons why in the 21st century you need to lead through conversations.