Working with a group of intelligent, experienced and committed leaders this week, it was interesting that they would defend their actions by suggesting spending time talking to build relationships, strategise and review was essentially too time consuming and got in the way of getting the task done.
Chris Rodgers in his rigorous and practical book Informal Coalitions argues the primary tool of leaders is talk (in its broadest sense, including all aspects of interacting including listening, non verbals etc). For leaders, he says talk is action.
I tend to agree.
As a leader, if you are not talking to...
- communicate a compelling vision
- provide meaning, value and structure
- galvanise collective spirit and direction
- build relationships and coalitions
- validate, review, challenge and support
- enable mutual understanding
- spark creativity and innovation
- help move people forward in their thinking
- encourage people to ‘sense-make’
... then what are you doing??
So perhaps time for some self talk to reflect on 2 questions:
1) what talk am I doing and what impact is it having?
2) what talk am I not doing and what impact is it having?
Rodgers, C. (2007) Informal Coalitions: mastering the hidden dynamics of organizational change, Palgrave Macmillan, NY.
Image source: own - not of aforementioned group but of my favourite group of talkers :)