Conversations at Work

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK …

“Read Conversations at Work to embed freer communication on the job, every day, and reap the benefits of a more positive, energized workplace. Tim Baker and Aubrey Warren have skillfully broken down the elements required to become a highly successful communicator!” Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times and Wallstreet Journal #1 Best Seller Triggers

“Tim Baker and Aubrey Warren offer specific and helpful tools to diagnose and excel at workplace conversations. Any leader who uses their ideas will dramatically improve.”Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan Partner, The RBL Group

“Aubrey Warren and Tim Baker remind us of the power and potential of our conversations to enable change and create cultures of learning and growth.” – Maureen Shriver – CEO, The Center for Leadership Studies

Conversation at Work reintroduces managers to the lost art of conversation in a complex business environment dominated by digital forms of communication. Tim Baker and Aubrey Warren contend that conversation is the essence of leadership. This book is highly recommended to all managers who wish to have practical steps on how to have authentic and meaningful conversations with their teams and to create an organization culture supportive to having rich conversations.”   – Associate Professor Vicky Browning – Director of Award Programs, QUT Graduate School of Business

 

HOW THE BOOK HELPS YOU

Organizations are about conversations. For any organization to achieve its goals, people need to interact, and those interactions require dialogue and conversation. Yet, thanks to technology, we seem to be having fewer genuine conversations. This book seeks to change this, through “how to skills” and wider cultural change advice. It provides readers with the tools to talk openly, clearly, fairly, and confidently about issues that matter – the ability to have conversations at work.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION 4

The culture of conversation 6

CHAPTER 1 – Organizations are Conversations 10

Conversations are omnipotent 12

The manager as conversationalist 14

Developing a conversation culture 19

Pivotal leadership 21

Conversation synchronicity 24

Benefits of conversations 26

The paradox of conversation 29

PART I – DEVELOPING A CULTURE FOR CONVERSATIONS 33

CHAPTER 2 – The Them and Us Employment Relationship: A Culture of Discouraging Conversations 34

Psychological contract 35

Traditional psychological contract 40

CHAPTER 3- A New Employment Relationship: A Culture of Encouraging Conversations 47

New psychological contract 48

Mutual benefits for managers and employees 56

Types of conversations 58

CHAPTER 4 – Dealing with Common Barriers to Communication 64

Inattention 65

Restricted information channels 68

Lack of feedback 71

A culture of not asking questions 73

Too much formality 75

Overreliance on email 78

Lack of role models 79

A fear of emotion 81

Physical office lay-out 83

PART II – TYPES OF WORKPLACE CONVERSATIONS 86

CHAPTER 5: Development Conversations: The Five Conversations Framework 87

Strengths and talents conversation 94

Opportunities for growth conversation 96

Learning and development conversation 101

Innovation and continuous improvement conversation 106

CHAPTER 6: Development Conversations: Five More Conversations 113

The coaching conversation 116

The mentoring conversation 117

The delegating conversation 119

The visioning conversation 122

The encouraging conversation 125

CHAPTER 7 – Conversations for Building Relationships 128

Relationships, tasks and processes 132

Trust 134

Recognition, appreciation, interest 137

Empathetic listening 138

Four steps to relationship building conversations 139

Relationship checkup 145

CHAPTER 8 – Conversations for Making and Reviewing Decisions 149

Consultative decision-making 155

Collaborative decision-making 157

Enabling decision-making 159

Reviewing Action 162

After Action Review 165

PART III – THE SKILLS OF CONVERSATIONS 173

CHAPTER 9: The ‘Face’ of Management Communication 174

CHAPTER 10: Using Your Eyes (Part 1): Three Perceptual Positions 176

First position (Self) 182

Second position (Other) 183

Third position (Observer) 185

CHAPTER 11: Using Your Eyes (Part 2): Watching and Being Watched 189

Physical actions 194

Symbolic elements 198

CHAPTER 12: The Art of Inquiry in Conversations 202

Stretch thinking 205

Generate solutions 206

Create a systems view 207

Create knowledge 208

Building relationships 212

CHAPTER 13: Creating and Maintaining Safe, Open Feedback Channels 213

CHAPTER 14: The Art of Questions 214

REFERENCES 215

 

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