John Varney, from the Centre for Management Creativity, read this to start off our third dialogue on Leadership Development and how we might transform it for a better future…
“So I’m quoting from Isaac’s book Dialogue.
“To listen, is to develop an inner silence. This is not a familiar habit for most of us. Emerson once joked that 95% of what goes on in our minds is none of our business”.William Isaacs – Dialogue
Then there is a quote,
“I do not know if you’ve ever examined how you listen, it doesn’t matter to what, whether to a bird, to the wind in the leaves to the rushing waters, or how you listen in a dialogue with yourself, to your conversation in various relationships with your intimate friends, your wife, or husband. If we try to listen, we find it extraordinarily difficult, because we’re always projecting our opinions and ideas, prejudices, our backgrounds our inclinations, our impulses. When they dominate, we hardly listen at all to what is being said. In that state, there is no value at all. One listens and therefore learns only in a state of attention. The state of silence in which this whole background is in abeyance, is quiet. Only then it seems to me is it possible to communicate”.William Isaacs – Dialogue
So the other bit I want you to read from the same book was about respect.
“To be able to see a person as a whole being we must learn another element in the practice of dialogue. Respect. Respect is not a passive act. To respect someone is to look for the spring that feeds the pool of their experience. The world word comes from the re-specsere, which means to look again, its most ancient roots mean to observe. It involves a sense of honouring or deferring to someone. Where once we saw one aspect of person, we look again and realise how much of them we had missed? This second look can let us take in more fully, the fact that here before me is a living, breathing being”.William Isaacs – Dialogue
So, there are various other principles that Isaacs’ goes on to spell out in dialogue, but we’re trying to get past just conversation. If you look at the people present in this dialogue, there is an extraordinary spread of expertise of life experience of knowledge, that we can pool, we can bring that into relationship, if we, if we listen and if we respect.”
And one of the things that I have learned recently about the etymology of leadership is that it shares the same roots as regard and respect…
If you would like to book a place on a future Leadership Dialogue to help us explore how we can transform the business of leadership development to shape a better world you can book on here…