Silence, Violence or Flow?

What kind of interactions are taking place around you? A helpful discernment is whether there is silence, violence, or a natural flow in a conversation – as described in Patterson’s a.o. book Crucial Conversations.

In crucial conversations there is a lot at stake and we often hold things inside by going silent until we can take it no longer—and then we drop a bomb. In short, we often move between silence and violence.

Silence means closing off and is the opposite of openness and authenticity. Violence means attacking the others’ ideas and feelings which will make the other defensive. Both silence and violence are contra-productive.

When did you see or use silence or violence?

Silence and violence indicate that people don’t feel safe – or they wouldn’t attack or withdraw. When it is safe, you can say anything to anyone (in a respectful way, with trust, connection and openness). The conversation will continue to flow – exploring ideas, feelings and actions.

* When did you see or use silence or violence? Can you describe a conversation with flow and how did that come about?

A positive workplace has a natural flow of information and energy, where people are open, authentic, and trust each other. There can be no positive awareness, a shared meaningful purpose, connection and collaboration, and learning if people don’t have authentic conversations and don’t show up as who they are.

Dialogue takes time but the alternative takes longer. What's your experience? Click To Tweet

Patterson describes dialogue as the free flow of meaning between two or more people. At the center of dialogue lies a “pool of shared meaning”. It contains the ideas, feelings, and opinions that are openly shared. The more information we have in the pool, the better prepared we are to make decisions and get results. Anything less than openness shrinks the shared pool, saps motivation, and dumbs down decisions. Taking time to fill the pool leads to faster and more effective results than the game-playing that inevitably follows silence and violence strategies.

Dialogue takes time but the alternative takes longer. Even though it looks time-consuming up front it is worth every minute when you see the results. Positive agents foster the flow of dialogue in their conversations. In my upcoming blog posts we’ll see various ways to keep others “open” and conversations flowing.

This is book post #52 – Part “YOU”

Here‘s the earlier post
The next post will be up soon!

If you’re confused – please start with post #1 or check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

By the way, if you want to contribute to a positive workplace culture, my next open workshop on Positive Culture Change Leadership is scheduled for May 2018! More information and registration is available at a first come first serve basis.

Leaders, employees, consultants, citizens – everyone can make a positive difference from any position, without needing permission or resources from others. This blog will help you see positive possibilities and (re)claim your positive agency. Unstuck yourself and engage others via your interaction and actions. Transform into a positive organization where people and performance thrive.

I’m blogging my next book: “Positive Power at Work – How to make a positive difference from any position.” Your feedback is appreciated!

You can help me by liking, sharing, and commenting.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Naeem Amin

    I agree on dialog and openness and Frank debates among boss and employees. But my experience dictates me that no matter how open or candid u r with ur team or employees it comes down to that specific individual with his attitude and approach to conceive the interaction. Both positively or negatively. Positivity and productivity is call of duty not mere product of good behaviour of employer. Goodness and integrity would surely lure appreciation but I feel that if we work to satisfy our sense of responsibility and leave our rights as a secondary consideration the goodness and reward would come our way naturally , maybe, not through employer but surely through Almighty. And that’s is most satisfying reward of being calm and content. Coz I feel we can never satisfy fellow human beings.

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