I love catching up with old friends for a walk and last weekend I managed to do a 3 hour walk and coffee in the Glasshouse Mountains. While we had not seen each other for nearly a year with a friendship spanning nearly forty years the connections are many and the conversation just flowed.
Effective communication is an art form and there is a need to appreciate it is a two-way process with sending a message and receiving a message by listening. The message can often get distorted with different values, agendas, levels of trust, knowledge, power and status. Also, sometimes there are just too many messages for a person to accommodate and there is an overload and breakdown of communications.
When there has been a longstanding trusting relationship and a one on one conversation like that with my friend, the chances of the message being distorted are far less. In coaching leaders and managers, I know it is important to know yourself first and put yourself in the other persons shoes to appreciate their perspective.
I have attended lots of meetings and workshops and a jointly developed agenda, meeting minutes with action items and outcomes from the meeting are keys to these communication processes. The question needs to be asked did all the participants in the workshop or meeting get a fair say and of the issues raised was there a commitment to address those issues with a process and a way forward in a timely manner. Also, have the messages been disseminated and discussed with stakeholders not present at the meeting?
No matter how good some people’s intentions on communication are there will be misunderstandings and incorrect messages making grievance resolution procedures necessary. This could be as simple as agreeing to go and have a coffee or talking on the phone.
Everyone has a leadership role and we will always be in a process of both building and mending relationships as we try our best to communicate effectively.
“Be the change you want to see in the world (Gandhi)”
Enjoy your day. Tony

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