Many people who watch NBC’s The West Wing notice that there is something special about this fictitious workplace. It is exciting, fast paced, and intellectually stimulating. Everyone, from the President to the Administrative Assistant is smart and focused. They solve problems quickly and can think on their feet. Many fans of The West Wing wish they could experience a work environment this provocative. But this is just Hollywood, right?
Wrong. Some workplaces are fast paced, creative, intellectually stimulating, and successful. More often than not, the reason is that they foster productive and engaging dialogue. What is great dialogue and how can leaders use it to produce excitement and results?
“When people talk to each other, the world gets constructed.”
In her book, An Introduction to Social Constructionism, Vivien Burr describes the central propositions of this emerging set of social psychology theories and practices. Social constructionism focuses on how interaction and social practices contribute to the way in which people define what is real or has meaning. When applied in a business setting, social constructionism offers leaders a rich set of tools for maximizing results.
How do middle managers and senior executives learn how to create great dialogue?
I'll be chatting more about social constructionism and it's application for leaders and managers in the days and weeks to come. In the mean time, notice the dialogue in your workplace. What can you do to raise the bar on the conversations with which you participate?
If you find this topic interesting, you might also check out:
Social Construction of Reality by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman.