Dialogue Improves Results

May 2nd, 2023 by Douglas McEncroe · No Comments · Culture, Leadership, Personal Development

Happy,Young,Couple,Talking,Over,Chalkboard,Background,With,Drawn,EmptyTolerance, respect, and an open mind are key to any organisation’s health. However, too often we find people from different parts of the organisation, or indeed, different levels of the organisation, approaching each other as if they were enemies.

Perhaps, given what we see in society at this moment in time, this is not altogether surprising. People seem to fall into camps with opposing views, incapable of entering into a dialogue with anyone from a different camp. And, social media and the algorithms that underly them don’t exactly help.

A Divisive World

A current example in Australia is the upcoming referendum on the Voice. People on each side of the debate, it would seem to me, have a desire to do what is best for the country and for all indigenous Australians. I believe both sides have this goodwill. However, they also  have different priorities, and different but equally valid concerns. They all have to deal with personal situations that generate pressure and stress. They all exist in different contexts, and these contexts affect their lives in different ways. True dialogue would require a sincere attempt to understand the other’s situation and explain yours. This exploration and advocacy are essential elements of any true dialogue between two human beings, but I am not seeing much of this happening today.

Organisational Conflict

And so, it is not surprising we see the same dynamics playing out between different parts of the organisation. People from marketing don’t try and understand what it’s like to be in the finance department and vice versa. What are they trying to achieve and why? What pressures does the organisation bring to bear on them. What is important for them? When they wake up at 3.00am in the morning, what worries them? What would success look like for them?

 In my experience, most people go to work with goodwill. Hardly anyone I have met drives into the office in the morning  thinking  about how they are going to screw their colleagues today. Just think how much more effective your organisation would be if people spent a little time trying to understand what it is like operating in the world of their colleagues, their boss, or their direct reports. How much better would the atmosphere be if people engaged in real dialogue?

Try this out

All organisations need collaboration, encouraging dialogue leads to more cooperation. Try these simple actions and see what happens:

Find a colleague from a different part of the organisation that you deal with every now and then and ask them:

How is life at the moment?

What are you trying to achieve?

What will be the result of you achieving it?

What benefit will that bring to our organisation?

What pressures are you working under at the moment?

What concerns you most?

What excites you most?

As you listen to what they are sharing with you, tell them about what it is like being in your world. You will find that you have more things in common than you could have imagined and the relationship between you will begin to open up.

You will see how this creates the foundation to have more constructive relationships, and who knows where that will take you.

You can train people to become good at these types of conversations, and, in a very divisive world, that is a good skill to have.

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