Conversational Management

I love a good conversation. Great conversations offer an interesting flow of ideas and opinions, back and forth, respectfully and honestly.  With texting, emails and voicemail, it seems we’re losing that art and skill, both in our personal lives and our work environment.  How many of us have hidden behind emails instead of speaking directly to an individual about a difficult issue?

conversation: informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words;

Here are 3 ways to use conversations to be more successful at work.

  1. Meet in-person (or if you have an offsite worker, then by phone) on a regular basis.  There doesn’t need to be a crisis or a lengthy agenda.  These personal frequent check-ins allow you both an opportunity to update, share and connect.  They also help build trust and familiarity. Plus, it’s less likely you’ll send a scathing confrontational email to someone you know on a more personal basis.
  2. Conversations are an excellent way to ”process” information and solve problems.  Generally, the best solution to a complex problem is found when a variety of perspectives are shared, heard and vetted by the parties involved.  Emails are good for communicating information and facts, but rarely allow for a deeper, broader perspective.   Sending a round of cc’ed emails to multiple recipients may be “efficient”, but then you receive an exponential number of varying responses in return, and it’s just not “effective”.  Pick up the phone and talk with the key individual or schedule a brief meeting if there are several key people involved.
  3. Frequent conversations build trust and familiarity and this helps makes those difficult conversations less challenging!  If the performance of either the manager or the employee is not what’s expected, either party can share examples of what’s wrong and what improvements are needed.  When issues are brought up in a conversational tone early on, it prevents the situation from festering until you’re ready to either fire your employee or quit your job!

We all can begin where we are today to create a more conversational work environment to share, connect and engage with others.  You’ll be surprised at how easy and impactful it is.

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