Why Coaching Is Key to Getting the Most Out of Employees →

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Grace McCarthy, writing for The Conversation:

If managers don’t know where to start, they should begin by listening to employees. They may be surprised by how much staff know and how much they appreciate being asked.

An interesting article, which points to research that shows manager coaching leads to improvements in productivity, engagement, and customer service. The simple power of listening should not be underestimated.

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Rescuing Ourselves From the Argument Culture →

Linguistic anthropologist Adam Hodges, writing for the American Anthropological Association:

Trump is in the White House because our argument culture helped put him there. To ensure his tenure remains an anomaly…we must replace our notion of argument as combat with the notion of argument as dialogue.

This shift, he argues

… starts with deep listening in a spirit of inquiry, exchanging ideas with an openness to new insights, disagreeing with respect rather than denigration, and offering ideas rather than vitriol.

As a general rule, I shy away from political commentary on this blog and prefer to keep my opinions to myself. Yet, I think Hodges makes an interesting observation that has broader application.

This ‘argument culture’ isn’t isolated to just our political institutions. I advocate a similar shift within organisations.

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Colonial Ghosts →

Nora Bateson:

We live in a world that celebrates “takers.” We call it ambition, leadership, victory. The gentle and the careful get trampled, while the aggressive rise to the top. Takers take. Now, exploitation in all its forms is on trial. The entire ecology, including all but a few wealthy humans, is disenfranchised. Our bodies have been taken without our permission. I would argue that the survival of our species and 1000’s of others is hinged to a violence that stems from the same blind spot as rape and abuse.

Written in the wake of #metoo, this is a powerful piece. It’s raw, personal, and vulnerable.

It highlights an important, mostly overlooked point: that the roots of our current ecological crisis, and many other social problems, are firmly located in relations of hierarchy and domination between people.

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Group Productivity Killers →

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Joseph Grenny, writing for HBR:

These are only a few of a much longer list of group productivity killers. Regardless of what’s happening in your specific meeting, the principal cause of most conflicts is a struggle for validation. This means that most conflict is not intractable because the root cause is not irreconcilable differences, but a basic unmet need.

There’s some useful suggestions here about how to deal with conflict in meetings. It’s nothing ground breaking, but a good reminder that the solution is often simply to offer a process that allows all people to be heard.

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The Paradox of Listening to Your Staff in a Fast & Slow World →

Aiden Choles:

Finally, modernity has given birth to a new era of participation, shifting our positions as characters in the unfolding story of organisations. Employees are no longer simply just recipients of decisions, but expect to be involved and participate as co-creators in the development, sensemaking, implementation and adaptation thereof. The days of the compliant, acquiescent employee are numbered. The dynamic between manager and employee is now a conversation. In fact, the organisation is a conversation! An annual staff survey is as far away from conversation as you can get. Slow paradigm stuff, really.

Great read. I couldn’t agree more, and love Aiden’s idea of appointing a dedicated Chief Listening Officer.

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