Do you conversate?

Graphic of multi-colored speech and thought bubbles.It’s weird. As I said to someone this morning, we just assume we know “how to communicate” because we know how to talk and how to write.

Dare I say – HA!

And as I’ve said before, too much so-called “communication” is actually telling, and not communicating at all.

It’s all top-down telling, whether from leaders to managers and employees or, yes, within families as well.

True communication is multi-directional and conversational. It goes back and forth and sideways and across. Not just leaders to teams, but within teams and across teams, and from teams to their leaders, and so on.

True communication is respectful and, when necessary, challenging. True communication is kind, clear, and forthright – in all directions. True communication means everyone involved is willing to be changed by what they hear, while not attempting to force anyone to change. Conversing. Having conversations. Conversating. (Yes, that’s a word!)

Obviously, there are times when “telling” is the relevant choice. Simple instructions are necessary in plenty of situations – as long as we leave the door open for questions. (In which case, well, you might be engaging in a conversation after all.)

Is this even possible within organizations?

If not, you have a problem. Because you’ll inevitably end up with misunderstandings, misinterpretations, missed expectations – and missing some of your best people, as they decide to go elsewhere, somewhere they’ll be allowed to have input into decisions and be able to make a difference, to create constructive change, and make things better.

It’s not necessarily easy. There are times when you’ll hear something you can’t un-hear – something you didn’t want to know about, a challenge you weren’t prepared to face.

But it’s worth the effort and the risk.

Because there will be plenty of times when, even if it’s hard, you’ll hear something meaningful, something that changes your perspective, something that puts your change initiative, your project, your team on a different, better trajectory.

And through it all, you’ll be building trust with your colleagues.

Want to know more about conversing, conversating, and having conversations with your people? It’s an essential part of change leadership! Drop me a note through my contact form and we’ll set a time to talk.