How constructive are your interpersonal communication practices? How do you know?
This aspect of self-management is one in which leaders and managers are often significantly underdeveloped and least self-aware. We don’t understand the quality of our practices, our own part in our interpersonal challenges nor the benefits of change, because we lack objective criteria and a discipline for evaluating them.
In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. [Bertrand Russell]
A process you can use to assess and manage the behaviours and habits of mind that comprise your interpersonal competence. You may undertake Part 1 (appraisal only) and then decide whether or not to proceed with Part 2 (coached self-development). Alternatively, you may commit upfront to undertake both Parts, which in either case are designed to be completed within six weeks of beginning Part 1.
Part 1 takes 3-4 hours to complete. Part 2 is a coached self-development process that addresses the practices you wish to exclude, refine, strengthen or learn, based on your self-appraisal. Self-paced over six weeks, it includes guidebook materials tailored to your specific needs and direct access to Tom Watkins.
Based on Hear and Be Heard, the highly-acclaimed skills-development programme developed by Tom Watkins and conducted for many hundreds of New Zealand leaders and managers. [See the Hear and Be Heard descriptor and client comments.]
Whatever is done or attempted by organisations to engage with others eventually depends on the appropriateness of individuals’ interpersonal communication practices and minds-sets.
Although there is much more to successful relationships, the quality of our interpersonal communication is one of the most personal and obvious ways we demonstrate the value we give them.
Normally, we can get by with the behaviours modelled by others as we grew up. Although these are habits we tend not to think about, based on untested assumptions and sometimes unwise choices and knee-jerk reactions, there is frequently tolerance for mistakes, improvisation, casual imprecision or awkwardness. Anyway, we tell ourselves, we can apply more rigorous techniques if and when necessary.
But best interpersonal practices are most called for when communication is most difficult – when tolerance is low or non-existent, feelings intense, differences acute, people stressed and the consequences of miscommunication and misunderstanding severe. Then, we are seriously challenged if our ordinary habits are not equal to the task. Techniques held in reserve lie beyond reach because we are not skilled in them. “Skill” means “habituated ability arising from practice”.
Step 1: [45 to 60 minutes]. Following your registration and payment you are emailed written exercises for completion. When these are returned to Tom Watkins, you are emailed the next step.
Step 2: [1.5 – 3 hrs] You receive and study some simple foundational concepts then compare your Step 1 responses with a principles/concepts-based view of effectiveness. This analysis provides detailed suggestions and illustrations to help you identify your strengths for consolidation and those practices you may wish to exclude, refine or enhance. You will now have at least three important reference-points for consideration:
- Your view of constructive communication in response to common real-life situations, given time to carefully consider them
- Responses based on the concepts and practices of intentionally constructive interpersonal communication which form the basis of the Hear and Be Heard programme
- What you know about how you behave in real life.
Step 2 includes (and concludes with) a planning document encouraging you to identify targets and plan for incremental change.
Depending on your insights at this point, you may elect to register and pay for two further steps (Coached Development). You may have already done so. They begins as follows.
Step 3: [2 – 3 hrs] This Step is emailed when you indicate completion of Step 2 and whatever insights you have to that point. Tom personally helps you refine your self-appraisal and provides guidelines to target and plan specific development.
Step 4: [3 – 6 hrs] For the balance of the six-week period that began with your receipt of Step 1, Tom coaches you through further activities to support your targets – by email exchanges, comprehensive guidebook material (emailed PDF documents) and telephone and/or Skype appointments.
Within this period you are entitled to up to five hours direct contact with Tom, including up to three hours personal coaching via Skype or telephone appointments. (Telephone charges are your responsibility.)
How much you gain from this process depends on what you devote to studying and applying its concepts and practices. Your minimum time commitment is 8-12 hours spread over six weeks. You may elect to receive reminders and progress monitoring exercises to support longer-term development.