by Paul Howard * Managing Director * Howard Recruitment
In a world of texts and tweets, the art of dialogue is emerging as one today’s leadership challenges. The tag line underneath the title of this book, How to Hold REAL Conversations that Create Respect, Build Relationships, and Get Results highlights why this challenge is critical to successful leadership. Effective communication doesn’t always just happen. Getting your point across in a way that leaves the door open to feedback, questions and other options is often difficult.
In this well-organised guide, Stoker highlights simple, yet often overlooked, skills that promote authentic conversations in the workplace. He touches on the psychology of effective communication and reminds us that we all have communication preferences. What often impacts on our interactions is that we forget to adapt our delivery to each other’s preferences.
Stoker’s defines REAL conversation skills as the ability to
- Recognise and suspend your thinking or judgements
- Express your thoughts, feelings, experiences or opinions without creating resistance in others
- Ask questions to increase your understanding
- Listen and attend to the messages that others are expressing verbally and non-verbally.
He supports these skills with the eight principles of authentic conversation. These explore the often ignored impact of our own values, biases and perceptions, which can de-rail a conversation within minutes.
Our emotions and assumptions often derail our efforts to build trust and solve problems with the people that matter most in our lives. Occasionally Stoker slips into pop psychology but generally his principles and advice are sound. He does focus on practical skills that will enhance your personal leadership effectiveness by creating and maintaining conversations that connect with others to build relationships, avoid or resolve conflict and deliver lasting results.
He probes the thought and perception patterns that adversely impact on meaningful and productive conversations, rather than just providing a scripted conversation framework, which rarely works in practice. He balances research and theory with practical suggestions to help clarify viewpoints and move conversations through to solutions.
The foreword written by Marshall Goldsmith delivers the important message of this book. “Focus less on winning and more on making a difference. Focus on the future and let go of the past. Have the courage to ask. As Peter Drucker said The leaders of the past knew how to tell, the leader of the future will know how to ask.”
An easy read, this is the type of book that requires a second more in-depth read with a highlighter pen in hand. It is a must read if you find confrontations challenging and have difficulty in moving through conversations. It will re-energise your approach to change and promote collaboration through conversations that have REAL impact.
Available from https://www.managementbooks.com.au