Every Monday morning for around 6 months I’ve been sharing a tip, reflection or short exercise about leadership and team-building. These Reading for Leading posts have covered a range of topics including systems thinking, self-care and networking tips as well as communication skills, time management and how to give good feedback.
If you’ve not been following the series or may have missed some of the 26 posts so far, here are some of the most popular posts:
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
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.
In reading “Reclaiming Conversation” by Sherry Turkle recently, the chapter about work caused me to reflect on our ongoing relationship with email. New apps, such as Slack, are touted as email killers, but why are we so addicted to email in the first place? In this post, I’ll dig into our relationship with email and what we might do to release its grip on us and our interactions at work.
Avoidance tactics – when email removes real connection
It prevents us from getting out of our control zone – We probably all know that feeling of being productive and terribly reluctant to interrupt our rhythmic rally of send an email, read an email, send an email, read an email…Yet while we’re firing words back and forth at speed we may have lost the sense of connection with the recipients, and almost certainly can’t context switch between different threads and recipients with any precision.
It helps us to avoid moments of vulnerability and accountability such as saying sorry – Missed a meeting? Late to deliver a report to a colleague? Send a quick “Sorry” and move on. Email lets us avoid the awkward eye contact. We get out of seeing the effects of our actions in the flesh. And so we also miss out on taking the sometimes messy, emotionally difficult steps to rectify our mistakes and rebuild relationships.