The Leader as a Human Being

March 27th, 2012

The other day I met a friend I have not seen for a number of years. When I asked how things were going, my friend began down this long path of uncertainty, confusion, insecurity, and frustration. And that was just at work. As I listened and interacted with my friend, it seemed these feelings were stimulated by a number of situations starting with the poor economy and leading to a lack of direction from the organizational and community leadership. After my friend left, and while driving some distance, I had some time to reflect upon this conversation.

Since I am not certain I can personally address the economy, I settled in on something that has been a concern for many years in my professional life, leadership development and its impact on groups and organizations. In this time of uncertainty, which by the way seems to have been my entire career, leadership plays a critical role in how members of the group or the organization view the current reality and the potential for the future. When I think about the leaders I have known over the years, both at work and in the community, I realize the leaders that I have admired and wanted to follow have had a certain quality to their leadership style. I also believe that these leaders were the ones who were the most effective in providing direction and security that the followers needed at the time. I will also freely admit that others may have not appreciated these leaders as much as I did and do.

The one factor that I believe to be the single most influential factor about these leaders is that they were first and foremost human beings trying to do the best job they knew how without creating any more damage or pain to others than was necessary. And when they did create that damage or pain, because it was needed or unintentionally, it was done with compassion and humility. It seemed to me that they were always focused on the other person and their needs instead of what was expected of them as a leader. As I write this I’m reminded of the old saying by John C. Maxwell; “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

This is also consistent with Daniel Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence. In his work Goleman talks about how the most effective leaders are usually not the most intelligent or the most knowledgeable or skilled in their field. Instead effective leader are emotionally intelligent. These leaders are self-aware and understand the importance of feelings when dealing with others.  These leaders, while not ruled by their feelings, know how to utilize their feelings to connect with others and to better understand how others are feeling. These leaders demonstrate the value of the relationship in the group and the organization. They are human first and demonstrate that they care.

On the other hand, ineffective leaders are unaware of their feelings and view feelings as being soft. As a result, sometimes these leaders let their emotions control them and react with a variety of destructive behaviors; such as anger or shaming or blaming or passive aggression or micro-managing or completely ignoring others. Hopefully, these ineffective leaders are not the norm. However, they do exist and when they provide leadership it results in resentment and the creation of a toxic environment within the group or the organization. When asked about these leaders, their followers describe them with a variety of descriptions, but few, if any, that would describe a positive human being.

Again, as I think about my conversation with my friend, I wonder what role today’s leaders of organizations and groups play in this perception of confusion and uncertainty. I wonder if leaders today are performing their role based on what they think others expect of them or if they are aware of the feelings of others. I wonder if leaders today are aware of their own feelings and how to tune into those feelings to build connections with their followers.  I wonder if leaders today know that the most important action they can demonstrate is that as a human being they care.

Until next time, think about the leaders in your life and what you can do to influence the development of future effective leaders.

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Leadership- Knowing the Emotional Self

March 19th, 2012

While working on leadership development for a group I came across an interesting issue. Listening to the expectations and desired outcomes of the participants, I’m reminded of a statement that I hear and read about all the time; effective leaders know who they are, which includes their beliefs, values, and what makes them tick.

An area that has been overlooked in leadership development in the past is that of emotional intelligence. However, recent investigation in this arena indicates that effective leaders are individuals who not only know how they feel, but they are capable of capitalizing on those feelings. They utilize their emotions and the understanding of others’ emotions to build a more harmonious workplace and create a stronger sense of team.

Research in the field of leadership and management indicate that many leaders and managers in the past believed that paying attention to emotions, their own as well as the emotions of others, would create a situation where they could not make the “hard decisions.” The leader or manager who showed any sign of emotion was seen as soft and would be taken advantage of by their employees or followers. To be successful was to be tough and hard-nosed. To be tough and hard-nosed, the leader had to deny or repress their own feelings while ignoring the feelings of others.

Today, due to a host of world changes, leadership and management are seen very differently. For instance, we now know that when individuals are emotionally upset, they find it hard to remember things, pay attention to details, learn new skills and knowledge, or make decisions clearly. With this knowledge we should be identifying leaders who are capable of recognizing and understanding others emotions and building more productive work environments through this knowledge.

A leader who is able to recognize their own emotions is better able to relate to the emotional level of others. A leader, who knows when he or she is upset or anxious or fearful, can relate better to others who are upset, anxious, or fearful. This helps the leader be able to handle disagreements so that they don’t escalate into full blown conflicts. The leader, who knows and recognizes their own emotions, can build better rapport with employees or followers. This rapport leads to better teamwork and productivity.

Leaders were once thought to be very dominating in their group or organization. And this domination was maintained by being “hard” and “non-emotional.” Not showing any emotion was seen as strength. Thus, leaders had to deny their own feelings and ignore the feelings of others.

Today leadership is more about the art of persuasion and working together with others for a common goal. Today leaders must be able to hear and understand grievances. Leaders must be able to function in a diverse workplace, helping others recognize and value the contributions of all members of the group or environment. To make this happen leaders and managers must work at knowing who they are, what they value, and how they feel about the world around them.  Knowing yourself has never been more necessary to leadership development today than ever before.

The next time someone wants to be an effective leader, make certain their development starts by learning about who they are, what they believe, and how they feel about that. Until next time, stay tuned into your emotions and use them to impact the situation.

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Transparency- More than Sharing Information

March 5th, 2012

As I follow the news, and especially the political segment, I hear a lot of talk about being transparent. I know people want organizations and leaders to be transparent in their dealings with the public. When I ask people what this means to them, they mention being open and honest about the information and their actions. As I reflect upon the concept of transparency, I wonder if it doesn’t mean something more than just being open and honest about information and actions.

When I look up the definition in the dictionary, I read several meanings. Those that I think are relevant to the kind of situation mentioned above include; free from pretense or deceit: easily detected or seen through, obvious: readily understood. When I think about these definitions I believe just being open and honest may not be enough to be transparent. I can think of times when I have shared information and that information was not readily understood. I decided to explore this more.

I turned to my favorite author on groups and facilitation; Roger Schwarz, author of The Skilled Facilitator. In this resource Dr. Schwarz writes in detail about how being transparent helps a facilitator to be more effective in her or his work. In this realm it is more about intent and not just about sharing information. In fact, Dr. Schwarz has a ground rule that describes it best: Explain Your Reasoning and Intent. Not only does an effective facilitator share information to help others understand, the facilitator also shares the reasoning and intent behind the information.

Why is it necessary to share the reasoning and intent to be transparent? If this is not done, the people with whom you are working or interacting may have the information, but lack the understanding as to how or why you said or acted in a certain way. By sharing why you said something or acted in a certain way, you are making it easier for the others to understand your intent or purpose. If you do not share the intent, you may be leaving it up to others to decide why you acted in the manner or said what you said. If you do not share your reasoning, the process for how you arrived at your statement or action, you are leaving the others to determine their own conclusions.

For a facilitator to be transparent, it becomes necessary to share the reasoning and the intent which underlies any statements or actions. Without this information others may make assumptions or inferences about the facilitator’s statements or actions. And, if these assumptions and inferences are not checked out, they may result in miscommunications at best and distrust and conflict at worst.

It seems that communicating with others is difficult enough. Therefore, anything that can enhance the possibility of people understanding the message or the action should be something that we all want to development. Reflect upon the last time you had difficulty communicating with another person. Would sharing your intent or purpose for saying or doing something have helped? Would telling the other person how you arrived at the statement or action have helped with understanding?

Until next time, consider adding your intent and reasoning to your message or behavior and see how it helps with your being perceived as more transparent.

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The Human Aspect: The Lost Leadership Element

February 20th, 2012

There is a leadership vacancy in the state/country. We have a leadership void. We have a lack of leadership in our community. There seems to be a huge gap in leadership in our organizations. These comments, and comments like these, are being made by people in many different arenas. I hear these kinds of statements at a lot of meetings these days. When I review professional development needs assessments, I see statistics and comments that say the number one or number two need of our group is leadership development.

However, when I reflect on these statements, I don’t see many leadership positions going unfilled and I don’t see any decrease in the number of opportunities for leadership. There seem to be individuals in those leadership positions. So what is going on? While there is a perceived and expressed lack of leadership, there doesn’t seem to be any lack of people to fill the leadership positions. Then what do people mean by these comments?

Perhaps what people mean by “no leadership” or a “lack of leadership” is not that there are no people in leadership positions, but that the people in those positions are unprepared or ill prepared to be able to provide leadership. Perhaps leadership is less about position and more about working with and influencing others. Perhaps leadership is less about technical knowledge and more about understanding human dynamics.

As I reflect upon the vast array of leaders for whom I have worked, studied or observed, I conclude that just being a smart person in whatever field does not qualify that person to be a leader. While knowing one’s field of study or expertise is important, it doesn’t seem to be the key factor in being an effective leader. As recent research indicates emotional intelligence may actually be more important than being intelligent or being an expert in a technical field.

Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence states;   “EI abilities rather than IQ or technical skills emerge as the ‘discriminating’ competency that best predicts who among a group of very smart people will lead most ably.” While being smart or very skilled in a technical field are important aspects to leadership, the critical issue that relates more to being an effective leader is one’s emotional intelligence.

And what makes up emotional intelligence? Goleman identifies a key set of these characteristics. They include the abilities; to motivate oneself and persist through frustrations, to control impulses and delay gratification, to regulate one’s moods and not let distress impact the ability to think, to empathize, and to hope. While these human aspects of leadership are not the elements of leadership we quickly identify, the research clearly identifies them as critical to the effectiveness of leadership.

When you think of effective leaders, do you immediately think of the smartest person or the person with the most skill in that area? Or do you think of the person who can get a group of people engaged around an issue or a vision of where the group needs to be headed? Do you think of the person who knows “the best solution” for a problem? Or do you think of the person who can bring people together to arrive at and own a solution to the problem? Do you think of the person who seems to be able to set aside his or her own needs to do what is best for the group or organization?

Again the research of Dr. James Kouzes and Dr. Barry Posner reinforces the human element of leadership. At least three of their Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership (model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, encourage the heart) speak directly to the human element and emotional intelligence.

So if we have a leadership crisis, it may be because we are not developing our leaders to understand the human aspect of leading and not because we lack people for the leadership positions. The next time you hear someone say we lack leadership, ask them to describe what they mean by the statement.

Until next time, ask yourself what it would take to prepare future leaders to understand and utilize the human element.

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Dominance Equals Privilege Leads to Power

February 8th, 2012

For many years now I have felt that I live a very blessed and privileged life. And when I attended a recent presentation on “power and privilege” I learned far more about the privileges I have than I am even aware that I have. The presentation was about power, privilege, oppression, dominant groups, and subordinate groups. During the presentation we were asked to look at several aspects of are being and how that impacts our lives today.

A few examples of the aspects we examined included age, race, biological sex, gender identity, gender perception, class, educational level, religion/spirituality, ability, marital status, organizational position, and many more. When I examine these aspects it is very clear to me that there is a dominant group and a subordinate group. In almost every aspect I am in the dominant group. Therefore, it is no wonder I feel blessed and privileged. I am.

Much of the discussion was around how to become aware of the power and privilege we have and, as a member of the dominant group, make certain we are trying to integrate all members of our society. As one participant said, we can’t afford to waste or underutilize the rich human resources that exist all around us in everyone.

As a member of that dominant group, it not always easy to be aware of how I use my privilege and power to live the life I am very accustom to living. It is not always easy to understand the concerns of the subordinate group. Even if I am aware and want to change things for the better, it is not always easy to address the dominance issue. If I start to question the status quo and do it too much or too strongly, I can quickly become looked upon by the dominant group as something may be wrong with me. I can even become marginalized and ineffective within the dominant group.

If being a part of the dominant group leads to oppression, then being aware of my standing requires me to address the oppression. I can no long stay at the individual level when I am a part of the dominant group and pretend that it doesn’t impact me. I need to become aware of my status and address the oppression. The challenge is to work within the dominant group within being ostracized.

Part of the difficulty in all of this is we tend to meet people at the perceived group membership, which may not be very accurate. We tend to place individuals into the groups as they appear to us. We then interact with them at that perceived level. This may, at times, create difficult relationships. We may even find ourselves in conflicts and wonder how it happened.

For me the presentation was summarized by one quote offered by the presenter.

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin

So the challenge for me is to work harder at seeing things with a different lens than my dominant group. Can I actually make a difference in my dominant group with this new perspective?

Until next time, reflect upon your privileges by being in the dominant group and ask yourself how to challenge the oppression caused by it.

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Talking May Not Be Communicating

January 31st, 2012

Lately I have been noticing how difficult it has become to achieve effective communications. It may just be me, but I find the fast pace of the work environment has people speaking and e-mailing in abbreviated styles. This has caused me to reflect on some work that I have used over the years. The work was based on a book and a communications program by Sherod Miller and others. I believe the book was titled Connecting with Self and Others and the communications program was Working Together. The focus of these resources is to break down the communication process into “styles” that can help individuals understand the process better and be more effective at communicating.

What I have experienced is that many of my communications recently get started without creating much context. The conversations, face-to-face or telephone, and e-mails just jump right into the heart of the matter. I find myself struggling to figure out the context and what is being asked of me in response. I’m so focused on trying to understand what to say and what is really being asked that I can’t really listen or read for the true meaning. It leaves me feeling very unsatisfied with my communications.

The work of Sherod Miller and others really helps me understand what is needed in these types of communication situations. Their model breaks down communications into different styles and provides an explanation for why and when each style is needed. The first style they call “small talk”. Small talk is that attempt to connect with the other person and be social. The intent is to get people relaxed and build rapport. I find that in today’s fast paced work world this style is missing a lot, especially with e-mail. When this is missing, I find myself lost for the first few seconds of the conversation or in the written e-mail. While I’m still trying to connect with this person and put the conversation into perspective the other person has moved on and I’m losing out on some very important information.

Many times in these situations the other person has moved on to the second style of communication; “shop talk”. Shop talk is really just what you would think. It is that attempt to gather or give information that is needed to understand the situation. It is usually very matter-of-fact and business-like. However, if the other person does not engage in a few seconds of small talk, I miss some of the important and critical shop talk. As a result, once I have figured out who it is and made the connection to the situation, I have to ask the person to go back and repeat some of what they had just shared.

People may find this a little picky and that I should be more attentive to what is being said or read my e-mail more carefully and completely. However, I find that without some time for connecting and some basic context for the conversation, I’m less sure of myself and my responses. I find I don’t fully understand the nature of the situation and I don’t spend the needed time to get a good grasp of what I need to say or do next.

To be able to address this situation, I find that I rely a lot on another style of communication called “search talk”. This style is used to gain an overview of the situation and to search for what is needed in the situation. It involves asking a lot of open-ended questions to draw out from the other person what I need to know in order to make better responses.

Sometimes, and maybe too many times, I resort to “control talk”, where I end up being too directive too soon. Due to the time crunch, I end up telling, advising, delegating, or assigning before it is time to do that. This can sometimes cause the other person to shut down and not share some very critical information. Both parties in this situation leave unsatisfied with the conversation and disappointed with the outcome.

If the conversation goes really south, then I might find myself using a couple of not so helpful styles; “fight talk” and spite talk”. In these cases, the conversation begins to move very rapidly into a conflict and end up not being productive at all.

Unfortunately, the style I use less frequently than I probably should is “straight talk”. When I am aware of my own emotions and am conscious that this conversation is very important, I can better deal with what is happening and be direct, honest, and compassionate. I own my own feelings and express them with no intent to control the outcome. When these rare moments do occur, I find more satisfaction in my conversations and more understanding of what is needed to address the situation.

If you find yourself experiencing a lot of talking without much communication, perhaps you can discover how to influence your conversations to make them more meaningful and effective.

Until next time, pay closer attention to your conversation and become aware of what style might be needed at the time.

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Be the Leader Others Want You to Be

January 19th, 2012

How do you build a team when the team leader never participates in any team building training with the team? In fact, when the team leader is asked if he or she plans to attend the training, the response is something like; “I don’t need that. That training is for the team members. I already know how a team is supposed to work”. These are the kinds of comments I heard at a recent team building workshop I attended. Some participants were concerned that the workshop, while very informative and practical, might not have any impact on their office team, because the administrators view training for everyone else except the administrators. The inference being that the administrators perceive themselves as above the need for training because they have already arrived at that level of functioning.

While I don’t know how accurate this inference really is, it did cause me to reflect upon the work of James Kouzes and Barry Posner described in The Leadership Challenge. This book describes five practices of exemplary leadership, which are; Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. If I assume for now that the inference about administrators is accurate, I believe the first and second practices are being violated by the team leaders.

The first practice, “Model the Way”, is all about saying what you mean and behaving congruently with what is said. As a leader, we earn credibility with everything we say and do. We demonstrate our leadership credibility by practicing our personal values and aligning what we say about those values with what we do. If our actions do not match what we say, then our followers are going to question our credibility and have less commitment to our leadership.

In the workshop example just described, the participants said that their leaders encouraged them to attend the team building training because everyone needs to be continually learning and growing. My interpretation of that statement is that the one of the leaders’ values would be that personal and professional growth and development is a good thing. Therefore, individuals should identify and participate in learning opportunities that will enhance the work of the team, resulting in a stronger more effective team. This is a value I hear a lot in my work. Most would probably agree that this is a very worthy value for a leader to espouse. However, if the leader does not match these words and support the value by modeling team building, his or her followers may question whether the leader has any integrity and can be counted on to practice other stated values. The leader’s credibility decreases and the followers’ commitment to the team is reduced.

If you are a leader and want to build a high performing team it will start with you, as the leader. If you believe that team building training is an important aspect to building that team, then you, as the leader, need to participate in that team building training. If you have said that the team members need training because continual personal and professional development is important to the team, then you need to be a part of that training as well. As a leader, you need to “Model the Way”.

The second practice of exemplary leadership is “Inspire a Shared Vision”. This practice is all about having a vision and being able to communicate it to the followers in such a way that they want to be a part of that vision. Followers will want to share in the vision because it appeals to their desires and aspirations. If being a high performing team is a part of the vision, then the leader must describe what that looks like and how it would function. In the process of inspiring others to be a part of the team, it seems to me, that the leader could go a long way to inspiring others by demonstrating what team behavior looks like and participating with the team in the team activities.

Therefore, attending and participating in the team building workshop could be a great way to inspire the followers to own the vision of a team. Participating as one of the team would result in team members understanding what a team is and having commitment to making the team more effective. By “Modeling the Way” and “Inspiring a Shared Vision”, you, as a leader, are performing at a level that Kouzes and Posner call exemplary leadership. You are the type of leader that most individuals want to follow.

Until next time, think about what you say and how you behave and the impact it has on others. And be the leader that others want you to be.

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What Is Facilitation?

December 21st, 2011

Recently while doing a workshop on facilitation skills, I heard the comment; “I thought I knew what facilitation was, but I really had no idea what it was until this workshop.” Facilitation is one of those words that is used so much, especially in education, that it has so many meanings for people and, therefore, it has lost its meaning. For some the word means performing the function of convening a meeting. For some it means being the master of ceremonies. And for others it means making something happen.

So what is facilitation anyway? In Facilitation at a Glance, Ingrid Bens describes facilitation as “a way of providing leadership without taking the reins.” A facilitator’s role is then described as the job of “enabling others to assume responsibility for the group and take the lead.” In The Skilled Facilitator, Roger Schwarz describes the facilitator’s role as “to help the group improve its process in a manner consistent with the core values.” Thus facilitation is about assisting and educating a group to increase its effectiveness in doing its work and making its decisions.

How does a facilitator go about the process of facilitation? Again Roger Schwarz identifies core values that a facilitator can use to guide his or her work. Those values are;

  1. Valid Information,
  2. Free and informed choice,
  3. Internal commitment to the choice, and
  4. Compassion.

These core values become critical for guiding the work of the facilitator as she or he determines how best to intervene and assist the group in improving its work.

When individuals come to a group process to work with others, each person has a lifetime of experience and expertise that can impact the group process and affect the outcome. Each person must be ready and willing to share any and all valid information related to the group task at hand. This means sharing any thoughts or feelings an individual has about the issue, in addition to factual content information. Many of these thoughts and feelings may be assumptions that need to be checked out for accuracy. That is why it is critical that all the relevant information be shared. To help make this information valid it is helpful to use examples so that other members of the group gain a full understanding and appreciation of what is being shared.

When all of the valid information is being shared then group members can make free and informed choices. These choices are determined by the group members without fear of being forced or manipulated into a specific decision. When making these choices the facilitator must be careful not to cause a group member to change behavior, especially when the individual may be uncertain about his or her choice. The facilitator’s role is one of providing an opportunity for group members to make decisions and to be certain that the necessary information for those decisions has been shared and understood by all group members.

Once the information has been shared and the group members have freely made their choices, there is more probability that the individuals have internal commitment to the choices made by the group. People tend to have more commitment to those decisions and choices they are able to freely make because they find more personal satisfaction with those choices and decisions.

If this group work can be done with compassion, which is “having a basic concern for the good of others”, then the outcome of the group experience is significant for each group member. When individuals understand and feel that all group members are accountable to the group as a whole, they want to do their best to help the group accomplish its task. This kind of compassion is not based on pity or feeling sorry for others. It is based on being concerned for the best outcome for the group and its members. It requires a temporary suspension of judgment of others by the facilitator.

Using these core values, a facilitator has a much better chance of being helpful to the group and being successful at enabling the group members to step up and take leadership. A facilitator using these core values to shape her or his behavior with the group will be fulfilling the definition of facilitation as described above.

As you think about your next facilitation opportunity, reflect upon these core values and how you might incorporate them into your facilitations effort. Until next time, enjoy your work with groups and have a happy and peaceful holiday.

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Identifying Emotions- Is That Rational?

December 14th, 2011

Don’t be so emotional! That doesn’t seem to be very rational! I don’t care how you feel about this; I want to know what you think.

Have you ever heard statements like these when working with others, especially in stressful times, like during change? Of course we all know that “true professionals” are always very rational and logical. Or are they? And should they always be so rational? Perhaps it is more logical and rational to identify and acknowledge the emotions involved in stressful times of change and transition.

Just what role do emotions play in our lives, especially during stressful times? Is there a reason we should become more aware of our emotions?

Because most people rarely express their emotions directly, we are left to our own intuition to understand someone’s feelings. Being able to “read” cues, especially non-verbal cues, really helps us to understand someone’s emotional state. Reading this emotional state and gaining a better understanding of how someone feels, allows us to better connect with others. Through our connections we then build relationships that result in better communications. And, after all, isn’t improved communications what most people say is needed more in the workplace or the community or the family?

The other benefit to being aware of emotions is being able to function as a whole human. It enables us to relate to and connect with the other half of our being. Since humans are not just rational beings but also emotional beings, by recognizing our emotions we can relate to others and our environment on a different level. We are able to use more of our human potential.

If this is important to us as learning humans, then why would we not want to learn more about recognizing and utilizing our emotions? Why would we not spend more effort at learning about recognizing and addressing our emotions and how they impact our behavior?

Take a few minutes and reflect upon a time when your lack of awareness of your emotions resulted in an unpleasant and unwanted outcome. Recognize what emotions you were experiencing and how you might have better utilized those emotions to impact a different outcome.

Until next time, practice paying attention to your emotions and what they are saying to you.

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It’s Just a Matter of Communicating- Isn’t It?

November 28th, 2011

We have a communications problem. We need to communicate better. We just don’t seem to be able to communicate with each other. Do you hear these statements very often? Have you said something like these statements recently?

I seem to hear a lot about the inability of humans to communicate with each other. What I find interesting is that when I’m talking with someone about their communications problems with others, it seems the communication problems are mostly with the others and not the individual with whom I speaking.

All of this reminds me of the old saying that sits on my desk.

I know you believe you understand what you think I said but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

I ran across this statement some 40 years ago when I was doing youth and family counseling. I find it just as relevant today as it was back then. Therefore, I find a constant need to keep learning about the communication process and improving my own knowledge and skills.

In this regard, I want to share a resource that has been very helpful. This resource, The FOUR Conversations: Daily Communication That Gets Results by Jeffrey Ford and Laurie Ford, describes four types of communications that are used every day by human beings. How well we use these four types of communications will determine how effective we are in influencing others in the workplace.

The four types of communications are;

  1. Initiative Conversations- This is the type of communication that we use when we are introducing a new goal or idea or proposing a change. It is the communication that involves something new or different.
  2. Understanding Conversations- This type of communication is used when we want people to understand the meaning of our ideas. We use this type when we are trying to relate the new or different idea to the current situation.
  3. Performance Conversations- This type of communication is used when we want people to take specific actions for specific outcomes. We use this communication when we make requests of others for specific actions.
  4. Closure Conversations- This type of communication is used to summarize the project or idea. We also use this type when we want to thank others or celebrate their successes.

The resource describes how to use these communication types to enhance everyday work and personal communications, as well as those difficult conversations. The authors emphasize the importance of planning and developing the conversation to increase the effectiveness of the communications. The ideas in the book can be used to increase the chances of being certain that what we hear is indeed what was meant.

Until next time, take your next conversation and identify in which of the communication types it fits and how to enhance its effectiveness.

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