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Why You Should Challenge Your Team to Be Confluent

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Why You Should Challenge Your Team to Be Confluent

Years ago the IBM Company asked 500 executives from several different industries to write down their personal definition of “communication.” The definitions were different in several ways, but they were similar in one: Most people agreed that communication had something to do with being “two-way.”

That’s an important insight.

Busy leaders and managers often use the two words “information” and “communication” interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is one-way, while communication is ideally two-way. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.

As a leader, you can’t be satisfied with simply informing your team; you want to do everything possible to actually get through to them.

No hidden agendas; no silent hostility; no unspoken grievances; and no hiding behind memos. Leaders who communicate primarily by memo might be informing their people, but they are definitely not communicating with them.

Here’s a compact way of describing the spirit of open communication to your team: The spot where two rivers come together to form one is called the “confluence.” Challenge your team members to use “confluent” communication. The goal is to “come together as one” by speaking openly and honestly without fear of harming the relationship.

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