AIR: Leading Through Conversation, (http://talkleadership NULL.works) is a way of leading that uses Advocacy, Inquiry, and Reflection (AIR) to create effective communications. AIR makes theory and practical skills applicable, relevant, and accessible. Teams in rapidly-changing organizations with intense and urgent challenges are able to increase their effectiveness. By using the skills of Advocacy, Inquiry, and Reflection, teams achieve results that exceed their expectations. At ICO we call this Talk Leadership, and it works (http://talkleadership NULL.works). The three interwoven AIR skills invite us to align our actions with our intentions. Used together and in balance, advocacy, inquiry, and reflection generate innovation. How we talk together makes a difference. AIR is using language effectively and wisely. Talking together we create our world. We share our experiences through conversation. We connect with one another, ask important questions, understand what is going on, what we need to do, and where we are going as we communicate in writing and talking.
AIR involves practical steps that are simple, yet they require intellectual rigor
Consider conversation as a critical leadership capability; how we talk together shapes collaborative relationships; collaboration gets the work done. Basic and fundamental communication skills create potent fields of innovative, creative energy. At ICO, we call these fundamental skills AIR: Advocacy, Inquiry, and Reflection. The three skills work together and need to be balanced to create conversations that collaborate and innovate.
The Three AIR Skills
- Advocacy is the active support of an idea
- Inquiry is a process of seeking knowledge
- Reflection is the careful consideration of where we are
Language can focus collective intelligence or create group conflict. Used as a leadership skill, communication shapes the change we are creating and helps people understand the big picture and the details. When we communicate to build and foster relationship, we think about the person receiving our message and how the message may be received. Customer relationships, employee engagement, supplier quality, and stakeholder commitment improve dramatically when we are thinking about how what we say influences others. By communicating with authenticity and empathy, we create the commitment needed to accomplish our aims–no matter how challenging our goals or complex our work. The AIR program develops communication skill that builds relationships that dissolve barriers and cross boundaries.
Conversational leadership transforms difference and distance into strength.
Whether we’re in the same building or spread across the globe, we use language to plan and accomplish work, resolve complex problems, envision and create and deliver products and services that serve the needs of our dynamically changing world. Relationships develop as we talk together (in written and spoken words), and when we make the effort to lead with language, the work begins to flow, and we are able to accomplish more than we ever expected or thought possible. A leader who is able to use language effectively transforms conversations into a potent vehicle for effective action. This is a conversational leader, someone who includes conversation as a critical competence in their tool kit of leadership capabilities. Communication is an urgent necessity for leaders. The world and workers are more interconnected than ever, and the need to connect 24×7 makes the fantasy of hierarchical command and control just that–fantasy. When an organization is highly networked, it is possible to be nimble, and responding quickly to changing markets and customer needs is crucial. Diverse ideas and people fuel creativity, and leaders need to invite and include different views and perspectives so that the whole organization connects, finding new ways to innovate. Talk Leaders: (http://talkleadership NULL.works)
- Invite multiple perspectives so that solutions are on target and no important perspective is ignored
- Create shared understanding and commitment so that the road map looks the same to everyone and everyone knows what to do and why;
- Build beneficial outcomes that have engaged diverse perspectives, that are comprehensive and have been critically evaluated
- Align actions that have everyone’s engagement–from employees through the supply chain–for on time, under budget delivery.
If you are having challenging conversations–with peers, subordinates, bosses, or with your team–reach out. Help is an email away: firstname.lastname@example.org