Twitter Tuesday: Conversation, narcissism and the Summer Olympics

Almost every week, there is an article touting the benefits of leaders engaging in “organizational conversation.” HBR Blog Network has recently published three thoughtful takes on various aspects of this practice. One hopes that corporate leaders read these; alternatively, lucky leaders have communications teams pointing them in the right direction.

In “Before You Start Talking, Think,” authors Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind offer insight into leading “with intention.” They see conversation between leadership and employees as a vital method for communicating and reinforcing organizational strategy, but only if the leaders have a “conversational strategy” in mind. Developing an agenda for discussion, using stories and visuals in explaining the opportunities or challenges the company may face, asking employees for input and feedback on company direction and speaking in consistent, well-reasoned language are among their suggestions.

Kevin Allen, in “How Language Shapes Your Organization,” cautions leaders to choose their language carefully. Phrases like “Get it done!” or “Take no prisoners!” may seem innocuous but, in effect, offer “cultural permission” to behave in ways that may conflict with the organization’s best interests. Note: “Money is the only thing that motivates” achieved unofficial “company motto” status in the offices of Enron.

If you follow me on Twitter (@bzhenry), you know that I’ve made content curation in organizational communication a hobby. This blog post highlights the best of what I’ve read in recent weeks.

On a smaller scale, the conversations between managers and their direct reports are the subject of “Are You Creating Disgruntled Employees?” by Joseph Folkman. The author contends that disgruntled employees do much more harm than the average manager realizes. He offers six suggestions on how managers can improve their skills – and increase productivity – by handling the disgruntled more effectively.

Did you ever have to deal with the boss from hell?
At best, you try to learn from the experience, but the experience is most often, well, hellish. In “Surviving the Whims of a Narcissistic Leader,” (SmartBlog on Leadership), authors David C. Tate and Priscilla M. Cale note that narcissistic leaders can actually be good for the organization: They may pursue goals aggressively, drive innovation, be strongly competitive and be charismatic orators. Sadly, being easy to work with is not among their likely qualities. For those working for narcissists, the authors offer six ways not only to survive the experience, but also to possibly take something positive away from it.

If you know a narcissist who needs help in changing his or her evil ways, you might point them to “How Leaders Become Self-Aware” (HBR Blog Network). Anthony K. Tjan argues that self-awareness is the most critical quality in helping leaders toe the line between projecting conviction and remaining humble enough to be open to new ideas and opposing opinions. He describes three ways in which leaders may become more self-aware.

Three more good reads:

© 2019 Betty Henry Communications