Companies that survey managers and employees often find that well over half (often 75% or more) of managers surveyed felt they did not have the interpersonal communication skills they needed to make their staff members as productive as possible or meet their staff members needs for critical information.
Additionally, most executives and managers believe a key obstacle standing in the way of greater effectiveness in their organization is bad or unhealthy communication. Unhealthy communication is costly for organizations and is responsible for many workplace
Some communication difficulties are due to ineffective relationships and information flow between leaders and the employees they supervise. Other problems are inherent to the organization itself, either caused by a breakdown in communications by management to employees, or the lack of infrastructure to enable effective exchange of information and common understanding.
Conscious Leadership Response: Communication problems or unhealthy communication patterns are are almost always solvable and involves using multiple learning tools focused on developing a common understanding and aligned action in organizations. Jennifer’s experience indicates that conscious leaders know healthy communication starts with conscious conversation, which is the cornerstone to change and effective productivity. During hands-on work with myriad organizations, she has observed a reinforcing loop of influence between the quality of conversation, the quality of relationships between people striving toward a common goal, and the quality of the results achieved.
Furthermore, studies at the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL) found that knowledge creation is primarily a social rather than individual process, as such people learn together in conversation as they work and practice together. Thus, we start our work towards healthy communication with organizations by helping them create environments within which effective conversations become possible.
“Conversation Guidelines” play a role in this process. Adapted from the dialogic principles as discussed in Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together (Isaacs, 1999), and presented as pragmatic application in Drs Ray Jorgensen & Dena Hurst’s book, Oracle of the Obvious: Secrets of Common Sense Leadership, these guidelines include:
This style of conversation enhances a team’s capacity to think collectively and symbiotically, and as team members practice communication in this manner, they grow individually and collectively, which enhances the organization’s capacity to learn, and increases effectiveness and sustainable success.