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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0008 | July 3, 2001
3,300 subscribers

 

 

Relating Skill

Pierce the Facade 
People seldom tell the whole truth. Make them aware of their misalignments and it will change their lives. 

 

 

The Point?

We don't mean to lie but we're all just so accustomed to embellishing or withholding the WHOLE truth that it becomes habitual. This habit is reinforced socially (as in "I'm just trying to be nice"), politically (as in "politically correct"), and personally (as in "I'm just fine"). We often get stuck or off track in our lives because we've deluded ourselves in one way or another. One of the most powerful things you can do as a facilitator, after you yourself become aware of the lie, delusion, incongruence, or inconsistency; is to gently make them aware of it. This can open up a whole new world of possibilities for your group.


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Example

Say you're facilitating a problem-solving session with a group of executives who are having problems working together as a team. None of them can put their finger on why they can't work together more effectively, but they talk non-stop about their individual problems that are occurring as a result. 

Each of them can't wait to make their case and they often interrupt each other to articulately express their point of view. You find yourself tempted to buy in to their story and quite frankly, you're a little intimidated by the brilliance and charisma that each executive displays in stating their "case." 

But deep down, you sense something is off. You feel intimidated and you smell their need to be right pervading the atmosphere. You also know that their communication and relating style is not a recipe for successful teamwork. What do you do? 

It's time to simply stop the group and state your truth. "As a member of your team, I have to tell you that I'm feeling unheard right now. I sense that each of you are pushing your individual agendas and ignoring each other. Is this the kind of team you want? If you chose to relax your desire to sell your own ideas long enough to discover the interests you share in common with your peers, you will have made the first step toward developing the team you're after."

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Action

The next time you have the opportunity to facilitate or even participate in a group, listen carefully for what's being said, not said, and how it's said. Try "reading between the lines" so to speak, and unearth the lie. Then you might even be so bold as to share your perception in a clear but diplomatic fashion. Make sure to own any feelings you have and to share your insight without judgment. This may take some practice, so try doing it to express something positive that you observe first. I'm interested in hearing what happened. Please email me your thoughts, stories, and experiences.

 

 

Skill Related Resource
What Is the Emperor Wearing?: Truth-Telling in Business Relationships, by Laurie Weiss

In today's world, the success of most activities depends on people's ability to work together. Dr. Weiss demonstrates that truth telling is the only reasonable path for organizations and individual relationships to excel. Her argument is that learning the skills to communicate one's own reality builds synergistic relationships and leads to greater productivity and satisfaction in the workplace. The first part of the book presents stories of people in real life situations who struggle with whether or not to tell the truth. The second part includes life experiences of people and companies that willingly have engaged in the journey of truth telling. Each chapter concludes with an evaluation of the story presented, provides guidelines to identify the problem, and lists strategies and techniques to address and resolve the situation. The topics include codependency, passive aggressive behavior, gullibility, paranoia, blind spots, intuition, ethical dilemmas, and hidden truths. The book is easy reading, insightful, and can serve as a quick reference in difficult situations. The techniques discussed can easily be translated to settings other than business. 

 

 

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About the Author: 
Steve Davis is a Business and Life Coach facilitating others to stretch beyond their full potential in their business and personal lives. Please email your stories, comments, suggestions, and ideas. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading! 

 

 

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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on July 10, 2001. 

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