With people, slow is fast
Posted by Claude Warner on Sunday 19th September 2010 at 18:24:55
Success in the competitive global market often goes to those companies who respond the fastest to the constant change in the marketplace.
The responsiveness of companies is determined by the speed of communication between the people within that organisation, and that speed is determined by the quality of the relationships between the people.
The key driver of the quality of the relationship is trust.
When people know and trust you and vice versa, you are instantly on the same page, not needing to check and double check everything, play political games or check for hidden agendas and so on.
When there is high trust, communication is easy, effortless and virtually instantaneous. As Covey says, “There is nothing faster than the speed of trust”, or to rephrase that, there is nothing that trust cannot get done quicker.
But the irony is that with people, slow is fast and fast is slow.
It takes time to listen to somebody, to ask clarifying questions, to restate and to summarise until you have a full understanding of what they are saying.
As mentioned, we operate in a paradigm that fast is good, fast is the goal, but with communication the opposite applies.
If you try and rush it by grabbing what you think the person is saying and acting on that, it is possible that you will misunderstand and take the wrong action and insodoing, lose the trust of the person that you communicated with, causing harm to the relationship.
With communication you need to get it right the first time. Otherwise you will have the double work of fixing incorrect actions taken, which can affect a 3rd party’s trust in you, and you still have to repair the relationship that you have harmed.
There are certain skills to communication that can be learnt, such as active listening, the use of appropriate questions, working with assumptions, understanding the emotional aspect, and appropriate disclosure.
These skills can be developed in a one on one coaching relationship, where they can be learnt and applied in the client’s context. Competency in these skills is a key differentiator between good and great leadership.
They can also be learnt and developed in a group coaching format. Your front line management team and your office team are both ideal groups to empower through a group coaching format.
The key elements are communication, relationships and trust, and they are all interrelated.
The better the communication, the stronger the relationship and the greater the trust. The greater the trust, the better the communication, and so on.
It may seem to take longer, but with people, slow is fastest.
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