Interdependent Communication

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A new study from the University of Washington says graduate programs need to teach students even more. The study found that students need to learn not just how to be scholars but how to live in the real world including how to get along with others in the workplace.

In other words, the study supports what many consultants already advise,thatorganizations are not things, they are patterns of interaction and that communication is interdependent.

When communication is interdependent, what one person says is heard, received and fully understood by another.If the message is not heard, there is no forward motion, if a message is not well-received, there may be conflict that stalls or moves an organization backwards.And if a message is misunderstood, conflict and chaos may result.However when communication is effective and conflicts are avoided or brought to satisfactory resolution, the organization will thrive.

Interdependent conversations, also known as learning conversations, are conversations which enhance learning about self and others.Learning conversations are empowering, but they are usually difficult conversations to hold.They may be held when a concern needs to be expressed or an expectation was not met.They might be held when constructive criticism is called for.In any event, expectations are placed up front, assumptions, if made, are checked for veracity, and all available intelligence is used without fear that certain opinions or viewpoints won’t be accepted.

People can learn how to hold a learning conversation through training by consultants in dispute resolution and through support of their organization.When conflict is high, a neutral third person in the form of a mediator can help the parties hold learning conversations.When conflict is very high and cooperation low, a conflict coach may be appropriate to help one of the parties take a learning stance, a technique that tends to de-escalate conflict and pave the way for better communication.

When individuals and organizations are interested in achieving long term goals, goals which invariably depend upon the preservation rather than destruction of relationships, communication that stresses interdependence is the only way to go. Through such communication, there can be utilization of both yours and the other’s best talents.Through interdependent communication, we can find ourselves getting along well and making a real difference in whatever work we choose to do.

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