Guest post by Jamie Showkeir and Maren Showkeir
Seven out of ten people say that conversation is essential to getting things done at work. Yet, roughly half of today's careerists-regardless of level or position- admit to finding it difficult to have open, honest conversations at their company. The result? Everyday conversations-the "invisible" driver of workplace culture and business success-are frequently manipulative and counterproductive. Ten waysto take the lead and create change-one authentic conversation at a time:
Have a point of view.
Develop an informed, independent viewpoint about the topic at hand. Have a strong voice, but be open to others' perspectives, too.
Focus on choice.
Need to be right or do everything your way? Get over it. Leadership-formal or informal-is no longer defined as "having the right answers," but as an ability
to engage others in considering all the choices and finding the best solution.
Raise difficult issues.
It's not easy to bring up a hard subject. Still, be the one who acknowledges
the "elephant in the room" and concentrates on resolution.
Approach others as allies-not adversaries. Choose to convey goodwill-despite any existing stress or strain-and manage your emotions.
Take the other side.
Go ahead-argue the other person's point of view. You'll help people feel heard and understood, and get to the heart of collaboration.
Resist the urge to point the finger when things go wrong. Identify your own contribution to the problem and make it public.
Denying or downplaying difficulties is dishonest and demeaning. Address the truth of a situation-the cold, hard facts-and invite others to join you in moving forward.
Beware the cynics, victims, and bystanders. Sure, they're everywhere in the workplace, but if you're clear on where you stand, you needn't pour your energies into winning them over-just invite them to make their own choices instead.
Deal with resistance.
Turning a blind eye to resistance won't make it disappear. Learn to see it,
call it out, and deal with it.
When a conversation takes a turn for the worse, stop and "process" what's happening. Admit you're at an impasse, make a good-faith statement, and
ask for help.
Finally, stop playing the parent and taking responsibility for others' feelings.
Encourage everyone-co-workers, direct reports, and even the boss-to deal with their own emotions and let go of the childlike hope that somebody else will make
it "all better."
Roughly half of today's careerists-regardless of level or position-admit
to finding it difficult to have open, honest conversations at their company.