Is your team quietly screaming out for good conversation? Part three

Is your team quietly screaming out for good conversation

Hopefully, by now, your teams are having more conversations that get results.

Part one and Part two of this series provided some key strategies you can implement as a leader.

Remember, your choices can have a significant impact.

This last article in the series shares even more strategies you could think about using.

Allow people to try out new ways of generating better conversation


Find ways for people to feel safe to fail when trying out new ways of talking with each other.

Be explicit; explain to everyone why you think a better conversation is crucial.

Invite people to let you know what would make them comfortable to try something new. Or, to identify what is getting in the way of conversation, e.g. slide presentations taking up too much time.

Then make sure you stick to any agreed ground rules.

Reflect as a group on what worked and didn’t.  Keep adjusting your ground rules until the group feels they are working.  Review them periodically to ensure they remain relevant.

Use incisive questions purposefully


Are incisive questions welcome or, are such questions seen as a sign of no confidence, weakness or challenge?

If you believe no individual person is the only expert; you should also accept it is critical to explore how everyone could be wrong. ‘Everyone’ is the keyword.  Be consistent in how you question and explore doubt.  Avoid singling out specific individuals.

Make sure the ‘why’ of questioning is clear.  ‘We want better results’ is a simple answer.

Good conversations happen when questioning and doubt are routine and expected because everyone knows they lead to new insights and better results.

Want to avoid the risk of point scoring and continual second-guessing? Always make sure the purpose of questions and doubt is evident to everyone in the group.

Trust people to talk about what is valuable


If you are like me, some of your best thinking happens because of conversations.

Someone says something and you connect that to an unrelated tidbit stored in the back of your brain.  You share this connection in the conversation.  The other person then asks a question that generates a new thought or makes you question what you had assumed to be true.

Generative dialogue like this does not only happen in formal meetings.

Assume team members are having valuable conversations.

Doing so provides an opportunity for this kind of generative thinking to emerge.  Discouraging chat within the team does not.  Keep in mind deep insights often develop over time, across many conversations and through reflection.

A growth mindset allows for small, progressive shifts in thinking. Encourage people to adopt this mindset and trust they will talk about what is valuable.  Doing so will make the most of available and collective intellect and can assist teams with maintaining motivation.

Once again, getting the team to develop ground rules that respect team members’ various needs can be useful.

However, blindly trusting people in isolation is unlikely to get great results.

Reflecting on how far you have come

Which concepts have achieved the best results so far?

What magic combination of strategies will make the most difference to the quality of your conversations?

Remember to keep experimenting and tweaking.  Situations and the people involved change, so be prepared to accept what worked before may not work in the future.

Share this article and keep asking what would make the most difference to your conversations.

And, if you need a hand along the way, reach out, and we can explore how I could help. You can find out more about me at Leadership Coach in Brisbane, QLD | Susanne Le Boutillier

Want more strategies to unleash an unstoppable team.

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