“Leadership Is a Conversation”

HBR June2012 cover.jpgWe’ve written a feature article, titled “Leadership Is a Conversation,” for the latest issue of Harvard Business Review. It’s part of the magazine’s Spotlight package on leadership, and it offers a useful distillation of some of the key ideas that we present in Talk, Inc. In addition, it includes a great chart (“Elements of Organizational Conversation”) that we put together with help from the staff at HBR. To read the full piece, you need to be an HBR subscriber. But you can get a taste of the article at the above link.

At that linked page, you’ll also see the discussion thread that unspooled after the article went online last week. The number and range of comments generated by the piece clearly signals that the idea of conversation-based leadership resonates with a lot of business professionals. And because many of those comments resonated with us, we posted several reply comments of our own.

Here’s a taste of a taste, as it were—the first paragraph of the HBR piece:

The command-and-control approach to management has in recent years become less and less viable. Globalization, new technologies, and changes in how companies create value and interact with customers have sharply reduced the efficacy of a purely directive, top-down model of leadership. What will take the place of that model? Part of the answer lies in how leaders manage communication within their organizations—that is, how they handle the flow of information to, from, and among their employees. Traditional corporate communication must give way to a process that is more dynamic and more sophisticated. Most important, that process must be conversational.

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