Purpose, Participation and Fulfilment in a Dialogic Team

The pleasure of dialogic leadership

Do you have a voice in your team?

Some groupings are more transactional - where you read your reports and get your
instructions. Being a member of a team is very different from that. In a team there will be
give and take, support and challenge. In a dialogic team people have a voice, and there is
an interest in hearing and understanding people’s perspectives before making decisions that
affects them. How dialogic is your team?

Does your team have a voice in the organization?

That will depends on how dialogic the leadership is in your organization. Although some
decisions are initiated and driven centrally, and others more locally, both the central and the
local affect each other. In a dialogic organization, teams are encouraged to have a voice in
central decisions. That does not mean that things are determined by consensus - the
definitions of accountability and authority remain unchanged - but the implications and
consequences are understood and respected by giving the team a voice in the process.

We will add to the consideration by including thinking about:

  • What is Functional Familiarity?
    Do the team members know each other well enough to be able to work together in a participatory and mutually supportive way? If so, successes and tensions will be shared openly so that people understand what each member is handling at any time. People know that if they miss a day at work, or miss a meeting, it affects everyone else.
  • Collective Intelligence
    Is it assumed that decisions will be made autocratically by the team lead, whom everyone else is expected to follow? Using the skills, experience and intelligence of only one person is very limited, compared to the combined knowledge and skills of the whole team. The informing story that underwrites decisions can be authored by everyone to best advantage. Then people own what is determined, because they contributed to it.
  • Belonging and Fulfillment
    The fulfilling sense of belonging arises from participating in a meaningful way in helping to realise the vision, purpose, aims and endeavours of the team and of the larger organization. This is not a warm fuzzy feeling, but a recognition of deliberate work and worthwhile achievement.

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