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From Diatribe to Dialogue

Edgar Schein described dialogue as “a discipline for collective learning”.

Dialogue is aimed at fostering mutual insight and common purpose. The process involves listening with empathy, searching for common ground, exploring new ideas and perspectives, and bringing unexamined assumptions into the open. Dialogue is an exchange in which people discover something new.

The ability to engage in dialogue with others is a key skill in building positive relationships; especially in terms of leadership

Jim Kouzes said that leadership “is about relationships, and strong relationships are built on mutual understanding. You can get to that mutual understanding only through conversation and dialogue

Dialogue is much more than a simple conversation or a discussion or debate and it is certainly not diatribe; dialogue is about “seeking a greater truth”; it is about getting beyond individual perceptions, interpretations, subjectivity, and judgements and coming to a kind of shared understanding and meaning.

Dialogue has its roots in ancient Greek “Dialogos” Dia (through) and logos (words); it suggests an activity aimed at eliciting meaning

Dialogue is an exchange in which people discover something new”

Dialogue is a way of thinking and reflecting together. It is not something “you do to” other people; it is something “you do with” other people

Many people have the view that dialogue is something, a bit “wishy-washy”, that is about being “over-polite” and about “giving in easily”; in fact, maintaining dialogue demands a certain strength and courage

Dialogue is about raising your words, not your voice, and recognising that prejudice always obscures truth

Do not confuse dialogue with “diatribe”; this is about belittling others, name-calling, and personal attacks and leads invariably to persecutors & victims.

Do not confuse dialogue with “debate”; this is about arguing for a point of view, defending a set of assumptions, and criticising the positions of others and leads invariably to winners & losers.

Do not confuse dialogue with “discussion”; this is about listening to speak, looking for loopholes, giving in begrudgingly, and leads invariably to agreeing to differ.

Dialogue is about listening with respect, critical questioning, and exploration without judgement and leads invariably to everyone learning.

The road to dialogue is often an uncomfortable and rocky ride.

Bob Larcher
Bob Larcherhttp://www.boblarcher.com/
Bob Larcher is an independent leadership development consultant; he has been designing & delivering personal, team & leadership development programs for almost 35 years, both in English and in French and his clients include Blue Chip corporate giants, Charities, Start-ups, and the Public Sector. Bob is also a visiting lecturer at several French Business Schools. Since his first leadership seminar in 1986, Bob has designed and delivered in excess of 3000 days of training & coaching. His background is in Outdoor Management Development and he was previously a shareholder of a major player in the UK market; he is an Accredited Practitioner of the UK Institute of Outdoor Learning and a member of the panel reviewing articles for their journal, “Horizons”. He is based in Toulouse in France but works all over Europe. Bob is an accredited Insights Discovery Personal Profile user, an accredited Integrated Leadership Measure user and a Master Trainer in Mental Toughness. He also designs customized 360° leadership & management evaluations Bob is passionate about helping people to discover, develop and deploy their leadership capacity in order to enable them to drive the personal, organizational and societal transformations they are involved in.

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