Responsive, transformative, contagious – Alan Alda’s three elements of listening

I’m currently taking part in an online science communication book club that’s discussing Alan Alda’s latest book “If I understood you, would I have this look on my face?” As well as being a well-known TV personality, Alda is the founder of the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. The Center draws upon improv techniques for some of the trainings that it provides to scientists to help them improve their communications skills. In this book Alda outlines three elements of listening that are vital in being able to relate to one another.

Lessons from a M*A*S*H*ter communicator…
Image credit: author’s own

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URLs of wisdom – silencing, story and speaking up edition – March 2018

Having diverse voices able to safely express their input and for it be received respectfully is vital to the functioning of teams, groups and communities – including those online and in science. This is a special instalment of the URLs of wisdom in which I round up some new and some not-so-new links that explore silencing, story and speaking up. If you have additional reading material on these topics to recommend, please add it as a comment.

“I’m a unique bird and I will not be deterred from making my song heard.”
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnfish/3932308358/

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Reading for Leading #20: Writing your own instructions manual

Writing your own instructions manual

Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.

“He’s really pushing my buttons” is a strange phrase that implies both that someone else is dictating our behaviour and that we have a clear set of visible controls that determine that behaviour. 

“Surprise! You’re in charge – but there are no labels and no instructions…” Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oceann/5513395919/

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Reading for Leading #17: Making and keeping good agreements

Making and keeping good agreements

Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.

It’s that time of year when many of us are reflecting on the months that have passed and thinking ahead to resolutions for the year to come. But as leaders, we make promises or agreements throughout the year – and ensuring that we act with integrity and stay true to our word is vital for smooth-flowing team work. In today’s post we look at the practice of making and keeping good agreements.

How are you hand-ling your agreements?
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sklathill/1405010166/

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Reading for Leading #16: The 6 listening filters that prevent us from hearing the full message

The 6 listening filters that prevent us from hearing the full message

Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.

In a healthy, well-functioning team each member should be able to speak candidly about their thoughts and feelings about a given situation. Making that possible depends up building trust that their input will be listened to. Really listening requires creating space for the person speaking to express what they need to say and hearing not just the verbal content but also how they are feeling. There are 6 listening filters that can get in the way of this kind of sensitive listening.

“I keep asking if Polly wants a cracker but she never replies…”
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/142252831@N04/27559909621/

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Reading for Leading #15: Identifying the 5 modes of conflict

Identifying the 5 modes of conflict

Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.

Conflict is something that all teams encounter and successfully resolving conflict is key to ensuring that everyone continues to feel part of the team – retaining trust, and belief in the shared vision. Thomas and Kilmann have identified two factors that influence our individual approaches to conflict – cooperativeness and assertiveness – resulting in 5 conflict styles.

 

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