Genuine Dialog

I may be the wrong one to attempt a paper on the joys, hopes, rewards and potential of technology, and its myriads of problems. On the other hand, since I am still partially in the cave, I have the sense of push and pull in both directions. I do want to learn how to use and benefit by this remarkable phenomena, and at the same time not to have it replace the “face to face” dialogue I have lived my life and work trying to understand, use and teach.

My thoughts shout at me that communication between people is not the problem. We are probably more in touch with each other than at any time in man’s history? But the “being in touch” is like walking on water. That is, we are communicating to each other, but not getting wet. Face to face dialogue is getting wet! And Genuine Dialogue is like having a spiritual (full immersion) experience. Today, our technology aided communication is a very dry experience; not only dry, but antiseptic. What we touch is not each other, but a tool. Too few are immersed in significant relationships that require, even demand, a sharing of space that is separated by a few feet, and often inches. Where eye to eye contact gives us a full bodied message as compared to only hearing and seeing words; how can this be when what is called communication takes place through small hand held objects and computers, and at distances that may cover the world?

Yes! The amount, speed, and kind of data that is transferred between people are not simply remarkable, but is shaping our world as we live this moment. The miracle of Egypt was precipitated by this technology; without which their many issues may have simmered for another 30 years. So what nation, business, community, religious institution, family is not in some way at the effect of this technological revolution?  People movements from the Tea Party to those on the other side of the spectrum know of the power, but hardly of its possibilities because it changes, metamorphoses’ before our eyes. It is a tool that may even, one day in the not too distant future, control us as its controller.

So my point, before I run beyond my allotted space (one page) is that if we are to hold on to our humanity, and the primary purpose of our being, it must be through our relationships with each other, and what I still believe evolution is about. That is, moving towards being there for each other, hearing and understanding each other; respecting individual differences, and yes, loving our neighbors as we also need to be loved. We must be present with each other when we do meet face to face, or how else do we confirm each other? And candor in the safety of distance and technology is not the candor of Genuine Dialogue.  And this must happen in at least a minimum of our relationships.

 It has been said that if one can count five friends in a life time they will have lived a rich, full life. We may call the multitudes we reach on Twitter, Face book, E-mail our “friends,” but I don’t think so. And, I venture, either do you. So put aside, as often as possible, all the technology you are using, and begin anew with your truly select friends, a dialogue that is genuine. Be with each other when with each other, show respect for the uniqueness that is brought to the table. Listen and confirm what is being said, and this has nothing to do with agreement, and express your truth; not as a definitive truth that wins over their truth, but simply your truth versus their truth. Finally, look into the other’s eyes as they look into yours. It is amazing this oldest and most permanent of communication “tools” I label GENUINE DIALOGUE.                       Sy        

Events Dictate

I would guess I’ve used the words, “Events dictate the exercise of power” for well over 30 years. I know the words to be true, even if, for too many, their response is way out line, that is, either too strong, too weak, or nothing (and doing nothing is still a response). My seeking has always been for the appropriate response, and made by the appropriate person, which may or may not be the actual leader. But the words need to be understood before we deal with the issues presented by any event.

What do I mean when I speak or write these words?“Events” are those daily “happenings” that make our days unique, different from every other day that passes us by. The breakdown of communication, software, hardware, people, misinterpreted words, and the multitude of good and not so good things that can occur, and usually do in the lives of those of us that face more than” what do I wear” for the day’s big decision. And “dictate” as intended here means to demand that something be done; if not now, then soon, and by one that can handle the issue that calls. This requires some degree of “power” to take charge or to designate another to take on the task, has the authority, and resources to deal with the event at hand. Many mistakes are made at this point.

Problems become evident quickly (that is, to the keen observer) that too often “events” are not picked up in a timely manner, passed over, swept under, too weakly acted on, or too strong, and over the board, efforts to handle. To match the right person, and response, to an event is rare, and another considerable problem to lay on top of the event that dictates the exercise of power.When “things” happen to us we either run, stand and fight, embrace it, or freeze. Rare is the event that calls for a “this instant” response. Stopping to dialogue and assess an event is rare. Most people do not live in the present, and events need to hit them in the mid-section before they become aware that a response of some kind is called for. And here is where a master leader is called for. Master because they are quick to see events coming, respond appropriately, and exercise their power in ways that both save the day, and grow their people.             

The Best Kind of Leadership

What is the best kind of leadership? This is a tough question because what is best for one kind of follower is not going to work for another. There are those that believe they need to be left alone to do their job, or whatever needs to be done, and actually do better given the space and resources necessary to do the job. In other words, let them be, and all will be well. Or the good leader, soon enough, discovers that a person may want freedom, but handles it badly. In this case the good leader applies constraints like time, quality, quantity, etc., in order to either “grow or go” the follower.  A good leader does this quickly so that damage is minimized, or that growth is facilitated. Inadequate leaders are either too firm, too quickly, or too lax for too long. Timing has much to do with whether leadership is effective. Good leadership and teachable moments are as connected as are ears to the head. Hiding o-seek is not a game good leaders play.  They say what they mean to say, and do what they say. No confusion between words and action.  And the wiser employees know this to be true.

Also, the better leaders accept that differences are a good thing, is desirable, and that this needs to be nurtured both for the benefit to the individual, and to the group. And here is where quality leaders separate themselves from the not so capable leaders. Growing individuals to be more capable, creative, productive, means also to grow them as members of the group they work with. Competition between people within groups, and competition between groups, is eliminated as much as possible, and cooperation becomes the mantra that is spoken as well as felt between one and all. 

This is what a quality leader does: They are role models, they are students, they are teachers, they resource, they facilitate, they are accessible, they listen, they work hard to understand, and when they make decisions they are made in the best interest of all involved including the individual, the group, and the client/customer. Finally, they are consistent, firm, fair, and most of all are accountable and responsible.