Intentional conversations – the job of a nourishing leader

Words and language are powerful tools and conversations are so commonplace in our daily lives that we don’t pause to contemplate their inherent power.

A conversation in its own way is more complex than we credit it for. It reveals realities, ways of being and seeing, assigning meaning to what we see. All of these things are important when we look at this in the context of happiness.
I would like to share with you two conversations here.
I happened to converse with a senior member in an MNC by design. As I progressed with each question, I realized that my energy was soaring as the conversation progressed and for both of us time felt like a constraint! We ended up spending an hour. The time spent knowing this person lingered on long after the project was over. So, I decided to write…
What was it about this conversation that stood out for me? What was so different? Many things actually. To start with, he stood for the value of human connectedness. Here are 2 strategies:
Intentional weekly conversations
One of his direct reports shared a story of how he spent designated time with her each week to understand her concerns and appreciation about work and life over a cup of coffee! She said she looks forward to this time each week where she brings her whole person into the conversation and knows she is not going to be judged.
Empathetic conversations in difficult times
He spoke of a time when some members of the organization were being laid off and there was a general spirit of negativity. He held conversations with each of them. It took them sometime to get out of the negative spiral. “I was respectful to them, heard their worries and concerns, and gave them a sense of confidence to move on…..there is life beyond the organisation….you will find something to focus on.” They found new jobs. These conversations helped them move on. Some of those people are still in touch with him.
Would like to share with you another conversation I had with someone a few months back about happiness.
Knowing oneself
This lady knew exactly who she was and what she wanted to do with utmost clarity. This tacit knowledge gave her the freedom to say NO to things she did not want to do; clearing out space and energy in herself to do what she was meant to do. She made the choice of working two days a week to an initiative that would make a difference to the organization. “I like creative work and that’s why I chose to work for only 2 days. I was asked if I could handle Operations & I said NO. I also said NO to project implementation as it would full time and routine. I like creating business plans! Being honest to the job irrespective of money, commitment, and delivering on time is what I stand for.”
The question she sometimes asks of herself is if she is utilizing her potential to the fullest and for the right purpose!
We all know at an intuitive level that human connection is vital to any organization’s growth and success and how many of us are willing to go the extra mile to know the person behind the role! This requires time, effort, and most importantly intention. In cultures where the task holds more credence than the person doing it, there is a chance of missing out on the value the employee can offer to the organization. Understanding the context of the person and helping him perform to his highest potential is the job of a nourishing leader.