Conversation Catalyst   1 comment

Surface waves

Surface waves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night and this morning I was reminded of the value associated with conversation and dialogue.  I was one of thousands watching the live production of the Sound of Music last night on television.  While I was watching the production, I posted on my Facebook page that I was struggling with this production of a classic.  I indicated that in my opinion, this could not replace the movie version which I have watched at least annually since I can remember watching television.  That post ignited a stream of comments from friends throughout the rest of the night and even this morning.  There were those who expressed their struggles and dislikes.  There were also those that spoke in support of the production and raised reminders of the unfairness to compare these very different productions.  As I stepped back from the various opinions, I became aware of the great value of this dialogue.  What emerged was an opportunity to express opinions, share memories, express feelings, educate, and most importantly, engage with one another.

This led me this morning to ponder how one little post on a Facebook page could ignite a beneficial conversation.  As a leader, I have come to realize the role that leaders play in beginning conversations.  In fact, I believe that this is one of the top five responsibilities in being a leader.  There definitely is a risk involved because if you open a conversation, you have no idea where for sure that conversation may head.  However, there is a lot that can be discovered and growth can take place if a dialogue is established.

Another realization that I had is that you do not always know what might spark a conversation.  I would have to be honest that I did not anticipate that my post last night would create the conversation that has occurred since I did the posting.  The catalyst can be something very small and spontaneous in nature or it can be something planned to initiate dialogue around a subject, challenge, or event.  It can be somewhat liking casting a stone in the water which create circles of discussion.  Sometimes you may need to cast multiple stones and at other times it will take only one.  The caution is to avoid throwing in boulders.

The final observation that I had this morning is that there is a role the leader must play after creating a catalyst for conversation.  The role would be one of moderator.  It will be important for the leader to make sure that the dialogue that occurs after the conversation ignites is one of a positive nature and not one that tears individuals or the group down.  A positive conversation is not void of critical observations.  However, the leader needs to strive to create an environment where the dialogue will not be derogatory toward a person or the person’s ideas/thoughts.

Who would have thought that the Sound of Music could lead me to think about such matters?



One response to “Conversation Catalyst

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  1. So we’re NOT supposed to shoot the messenger? I’ll make a note. Seriously, a good reminder about leadership not always being when we choose it or want it.

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