All teamwork is conversation — find out what conversations are missing.
A conversation audit approach for leaders
One of the first observations that I had as a team coach was the great divide between what teams say as a group and what the individuals say, 1 to 1, in coaching.
It is relatively accepted that there are boastful stories and shy stories in all organisations and that these are expressed through many conversations in many places:
The boardroom conversations.
The desk conversations.
The water fountain conversations.
The after-work conversations.
The midnight WhatsApp conversations.
There is a lot being said, by all — in all contexts.
This goes without saying and is a key ingredient of all social environments, the glue that binds people together and the force that divides us. Romance is formed and wars are fought over conversations had and not had.
The value of communication, through conversation, is at the core of almost all teamwork functions. HR, finance, IT, management, clinician, customer, patient… there is no organisational function that can thrive without conversation with others.
As teams form and evolve, subtle and unspoken rules form about what is said and unsaid. A new tribe comes together and the rhythm of its being forms and slowly solidifies into stone.
In our personal lives, we have our own narratives about conversations when we talk about our own families… “we never deal with confrontation in our family”, “we never discuss religion”, “my parents never mention my Uncle”… this is a common part of family systems and is a commonality to teams also, with one slight difference…