13 Oct 13
As Americans, the government’s shut down has allowed us to observe the consequence of ineffective communication amongst leaders over the last couple of weeks.
Since the beginning of this government shutdown, I’ve overheard comments from frustrated colleagues and peers, that labeled our politicians in Washington as stupid or idiotic, for letting the shutdown happen.
Based on our current circumstances, as a nation, I can understand their sentiments, but I have another perspective.
I believe the majority of our elected leaders are highly intelligent individuals.
Because, we voted them into office based on what we believed was a sufficient competence to lead our country.
The more difficult question is:
If they are all intelligent individuals, why is it that collectively they seem to do really dumb things?
To answer that question, we don’t have to go all the way to Washington D.C. to examine the cause. All we really have to do is examine our relationships within our homes, within our businesses and within our friendships.
There are times when our relationships experience a ‘shutdown’. One of the reasons our relationships shut down is due to the lack of active listening.
I have often observed two intelligent people talking at each other and barely communicating. This is what I call ‘Dead Dialogue‘.
What is Dead Dialogue?
It’s when two people attempt to communicate by talking at each other, but not with each other.
It’s when two people are attempting to push two separate agendas and are unwilling to concede to the other’s agenda.
It’s when two people lack the respect to listen and absorb the ideas, the perspective and intelligence of one another.
This happens when we no longer believe that someone else’s perspective could be valuable to the topic or problem being discussed.
Dead Dialogue, is dialogue that fills the space of time, but accomplishes nothing at all. This is made up of words and phrases, that may sound articulate and eloquent, but ultimately falls on deaf ears.
Thus the dialogue is stillborn.
The dialogue is hollow.
The dialogue is dead.
My questions for reflection this week are:
When have you recently engaged in dead dialogue?
Are you consistently, challenging yourself to improve your active listening skills?
Everything at our nation’s capital can be worked out, when these intelligent leaders put away their personal agendas and motives to commit towards working together in the interest of finding a meaningful solution.
The great ideas are already there.
All the solutions they need are currently present.
The opportunity lies in whether they are really ready to listen to one another and then execute on the proper solution.
What’s being shutdown in your relationship?
What’s being shutdown in your home?
What’s being shutdown in your work?
What role have you played in these shutdowns?
It always takes at least two.
It’s always going to be easier to identify what someone else could do better, but this week I’m asking you to do better.
“Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.” ~ Jane Goodall
Washington needs a change!
Until they change, we can lead by example.
Just say NO to Dead Dialogue!
…and stay inspired, it’s a lifestyle choice!