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AUTHENTIC CONVERSATIONS: Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment
Amazon.com Amazon.com
Powell's Books Powell's Books

Maren gives an overview of the book:

Something people typically think of as merely functional—ordinary conversation—has the power they have to create, sustain, and change the very nature of workplace culture. Conversations can lead to an engaged and energized workforce, or to one that is alienated and uninspired. If you want to change the culture you must change the conversations. All too often workplace conversations create parent-child relationships. People hide facts, sugarcoat reality and claim helplessness to try to control interactions and get what they want. The Showkeirs expose the destructiveness of these manipulative conversations, and demonstrate how we can move to honest and authentic interactions that create adult relationships. By intentionally and thoughtfully changing conversations, organizations will engender increased commitment, true accountability, and improved workplace performance...
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Something people typically think of as merely functional—ordinary conversation—has the power they have to create, sustain, and change the very nature of workplace culture. Conversations can lead to an engaged and energized workforce, or to one that is alienated and uninspired. If you want to change the culture you must change the conversations.

All too often workplace conversations create parent-child relationships. People hide facts, sugarcoat reality and claim helplessness to try to control interactions and get what they want. The Showkeirs expose the destructiveness of these manipulative conversations, and demonstrate how we can move to honest and authentic interactions that create adult relationships. By intentionally and thoughtfully changing conversations, organizations will engender increased commitment, true accountability, and improved workplace performance.

Drawing on more than 25 years of experience as organizational consultants, their book offers examples of parent-child and adult-adult workplace conversations in a variety of settings, circumstances and industries. They also provide a hands-on guide, including sample scripts, for dealing with a host of potentially difficult conversations.

Authentic Conversations goes to the heart of why so many people today are disengaged, uninspired, and uncommitted to their organization’s success. It challenges the conventional wisdom about managing people and sets out specific, concrete ways to consciously make conversations the primary driver for change.

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When talking about authentic conversations, we make a distinction between "taking care of" of and "caretaking" of people. Taking care of others is born of kindness, compassion, and empathy. It manifests itself in goodwill and considering others' viewpoints. It is what you do for your children when they're sick or because they're too young to care for themselves. You take care of your friends when they are hurting and need a listening ear, and you take care of your neighbors when they are in a jam. This is different from caretaking, which we define as trying to manage (or be responsible for) another's emotional response to a given situation or set of circumstances.

When you cross the line of compassion and concern and attempt to take responsibility for someone else's emotional response, the impulse to protect ends up harming instead. When clans of people lived in caves and one of them discovered a tiger's lair close by, he or she was probably frightened. But the answer to protecting the clan wasn't to withhold the location of the cave so that others wouldn't be frightened, or to downplay the possibility of a hungry tiger attacking them. Acknowledging the feaful circumstances and using the clan's collective wisdome to find a practical solution is not only more pragmatic, it could be essential to survival.

To think you can manage another's emotional welfare is a dangerous game and requires willful dishonestly. Sometimes we deceive ourselves into thinking that caretaking is about compassion. about protecting someone "for their own good" when the truth is we don't want to deal with the emotional fallout that usually accompanies difficult news and challenging choices. If someone asks for the truth, and you tell him what you think he wants to hear, you have deceived him. That kind of deception is a demeaning and debilitating message to the adults we work with, those we have asked to show up each day and contribute their best.

Caretaking conversations are routin in traditional organizations. They have the unintended consequences of creating cultures where people do not see themselves as responsible for their own emotional welfare or as players who have a critical role in the organization's success and survival. It is yet another manifestation of the parent-child dynamic.

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Maren

Born in a southwestern town that went from being a small, boring burg with wide streets to a large, boring, catatonic beige stucco hell megapolis. Please don't hold it against me. I was the middle (ignored) child among six siblings but managed to grow up and live a mostly...

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