Claire writes: “Rapport is an important part of conversations – enough rapport – because too much rapport building, I think, can set a tone to a conversation where it’s more difficult to get the work done. Pre-conversations can help here. What I mean by that is that we chat first and then ask ‘are we ready to start the work now?‘
It’s interesting to notice, having just started off a number of Transforming Conversations courses in different organisations over the last few weeks, that many people see rapport-building as good and challenge as bad/difficult/uncomfortable.
Kim Scott, in Radical Candor, talks about caring personally and challenging directly (her definition of radical candour) and she describes high personal care and low direct challenge as ruinous empathy. Sharing this insight in organisations has caused a number of people to ask ‘are we too soft?’. Challenging doesn’t have to be scary especially when it is based on real observable data with no judgement. Saying what you see without judgement is a skill worth refining which makes those difficult conversations much easier to navigate.
You’ll be aware that we work across organisational cultures. A recent conversation with colleagues in the USA has led to us hosting a ‘Are we too soft? How did Jesus challenge?‘ in November for people from churches globally. We hope to run a secular version of ‘Are we too soft?’ in the future.
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