Published on 27th July 2017 in Leadership
Do you speak your mind?
Picture this scene. You have just joined a new team and you are sitting in one of your first team meetings. The atmosphere is positive. Somebody comes up with a proposal that you just know is highly unlikely to succeed.
What do you do?
What is going on here?
Most of us are adept at hiding our thoughts and feelings when we think it necessary.
This self-censoring means that we are not truly speaking our mind. This can become so automatic that it becomes an engrained habit.
Most of our work environments do not afford us or encourage us to display such authenticity, but rather encourage the withholding of such openness in the name of being positive.
Yet it is precisely this so called “negative” information that is critical for helping people work together to solve problems. One way to understand how you are censoring yourself is to use the Left Hand Column model developed by Harvard Professor Chris Argyris.
The Left Hand Column
When we are having a conversation, we are often actually having two conversations — the audible one we hold in public — the right-hand column — and the silent one we’re having inside our heads — the lefthand column. Here’s an example
3 Options to deal with our Left Hand Column
This type of conversation is common– we don’t say what is really on our mind and as a consequence end up with an unsatisfactory outcome. Some people have become so accustomed to burying their true concerns, they just accept that this is the way to behave. This does not have to be the case. We typically have 3 options for handling our Left Hand Column.
How to Process your Left Hand Column
1)Share your Left Hand Column
2) Explore the other person(s)’ Left Hand Column
Explain this model to your colleagues. Once more people are aware of this, it will become very easy to simply ‘Share your Left Hand Column’
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