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News: Associations News

Revitalising workforces through conversation

22 November 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katie Spackman
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Future leader training and development is key to the success of associations. Leaders should inspire junior workers by engaging in conversation and creating a ‘dialogue’ as Rens van Loon, Chair in Dialogical Leadership at Tilburg University (Netherlands) explained to Louise Clarke.

We’re all familiar with ‘digital overload’. Constant bombardment from smartphones, computers and other electronic devices causes high stress levels and the brain to work overtime, be hyper alert and distracted.

As a leader, if you use people as you use computers - making them constantly face complex problems and continuous change - you risk burn out just like that caused by technology.

Dialogical leadership
The problem according to Professor Rens van Loon is that current leaders are not trained to create conditions for dialogue; to open up, collaborate with and ‘revitalise the workforce’. They need to adapt, to change their perspective from leader-centric to follower-driven in order to solve workplace culture problems.

“As well as being competent debaters and skilled at rational argument, leaders need to know how to relate to staff suffering from burn out and lack of energy,” explains Rens.  “They should be able to distinguish between different sorts of conversation and create the conditions for dialogue using the following four steps:”

1. Listening
2. Showing respect
3. Suspending judgement; not jumping to conclusions
4. Voicing what is needed in a clear way.”

Successful change and transformation
“There’s a link between the health of organisations and the psychological and emotional health of those who lead them. Dialogue, as well as teamwork and motivation is crucial, as a key mechanism for successful change and transformation programs in organisations.”


For more detailed information of dialogical leadership see Rens van Loon’s book ‘Creating Organizational Value through Dialogical Leadership. Boiling Rice in Still Water.’


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