Create Dialogue for Problem Solving
Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE
As a leader or
manager, effective dialogue is key to helping your subordinates
or team members solve problems and move forward. Dialogue, which can be
translated from its Greek roots as “meaning flowing through”, is the
respectful, two-way, open-ended flow of communication that balances
listening and speaking for the purpose of learning. High-performing organizations are those whose teams developed
deep personal bonds among colleagues.
These relationships form the context for achieving high
performance. Other forms of
communication—debate, directing, discussing—may influence or control
people, but compliance is often the best result, not productivity or
a leader, use effective questions to create dialogue, and
therefore to accomplish mutual goals for you and your
questions are open-ended; for example:
do you think about this idea?
do you think is important?
would you solve this?
you were in my shoes, what would you do?
other factors should we be considering?
your opinion, why is this approach going to work?
do you see as the obstacles we face?
working with your team as a group, or in one-on-one situations,
open-ended questions require respondents to share their thinking and
their ideas. Problem-solving questions should flow from the global to
are things going?
are you goals?
are you trying to accomplish?
results have you achieved so far?
are you stuck?
kinds of problems are you encountering?
solutions have you attempted?
do you see as your options?
you want input from me?
is your “go forward” plan?
can you apply what you’ve learned to your job?
else would benefit from knowing this?
can I do to better support you?
support do you need?
it be helpful to talk again?
management is a significant business issue for leaders in every
industry. The communication
skills outlined here are from author and coach, Thomas G. Crane, in his
Heart of Coaching: Using
Transformational Coaching to Create a High-Performance Culture.”