Active Listening Integrating Management Skills Essay

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I had never been so aware of exactly how I was placing my body until now. Perhaps because I was so aware of what signals I was sending with my body language that when I look at the video I feel that I looked stiff at times. Also, at the very beginning of the exercise before we even began to talk to each other, it was clearly hard for me to know how I should sit so I wiggled around too much and then decided on a position that was much too informal.

I understand when I watch the video that I was trying to make the other person feel relaxed by choosing a relaxed-looking position myself. But her posture, which was much more stiff than usual, which I think reflected her discomfort with my behavior as much as her being uncomfortable with the topic, which was the discussion of our friendship. Even although this was a topic that we both had an equal stake in since it about our friendship I was in a position to set the mood and so I had a greater responsibility to be thoughtful (Vangelisti, Knapp, Daly, 1990).

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At about the 5:20 mark in the film I first listened to my partner as she rather forcefully described what she saw as problems in our friendship. I got the impression from her body language and from her tone of voice that these were things that she had been wanting to say for a long time and had just gotten to the point that she was so frustrated that she was willing to risk harming our relationship. (Of course, I realize that I may also be projecting my own feelings in such a situation.) I felt that this was a key moment to move to the strategy that we have examined called "cooperative power." What I saw developing was a situation in which my partner felt that I had more power than she did. I did not see the same things that she did, which does not mean that her perception was not accurate of course.

Essay on Active Listening Integrating Management Skills Assignment

A situation at work would more than likely have an element of power in it because one person is likely to have more power in terms of the company than the other. However, a constant awareness of a different in status and/or power is very much non-conducive to producing a win-win situation in which both people believe that they have been heard by the other, that each of them has had their problems validated by the other, and that the solution is as fair as possible for each party (Segal, 1997). his was why I made the shift to the concept of "cooperative power" that was addressed in the Week Seven readings.

Therefore I shifted to a cooperative power stance. In such a strategy, the person who enters the interaction with more power, or who enters an interaction and is perceived by other people as having more power, has the responsibility to demonstrate that s/he does not feel superior (Costantino & Merchant, 1996). This is a key point: While one party may in fact have greater power or authority, neither is superior in terms of basic worth. This may seem a peculiar way to set the conditions for a management intervention at work, but no matter what the formal situation is, one of the most fundamental ways in which to create a situation where conflicts can be authentically addressed in a way that is likely to be effective over time, is an acknowledge that each person involved has a valid perspective (Rowe, 1990).

Looking at the moment just after the one that I was discussing above demonstrates how difficult it can be to validate another person's feelings and statements even when one is trying actively to create a situation in which power is generated by everyone who is present (Slaikeu & Hasson, 1998). My own response that I understand that these are the concerns that she faces and that I appreciate the chance that she has given me to learn about the feelings that I was not aware of before follows the "rules" of good active listening.

However, even though I believe that I said the right things according to what we have learned in this class, my body language as well as my tone of voice clearly expressed the idea that I was upset at her response, possibly even offended. Both of these things made it clear that I was not entirely control of my emotions. At the time I thought that I handled my emotions and body language in a way that was non-threatening and cooperative. I understand now why making a video of the situation is so helpful: It prevents one from unconsciously editing what happened afterwards so that we think that we did a better (or worse) job than we actually did.

References

Blake, R. & Mouton, J.S. (1984). Solving Costly Organizational Conflicts: Achieving Intergroup Trust, Cooperation, and Teamwork. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Costantino, C.A. & Merchant, C.S. (1996). Designing Conflict Management Systems: A Guide to Creating Productive and Healthy Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1996.

Dana, D. (2007). Managing Differences: How to Build Better Relationships at Work and Home, (4th Ed.). New York: MTI Publications.

Derber, C. (1979). The pursuit of attention: Power and individualism in everyday life. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mineyama, S., Tsutsumi, A., Takao, S., Nishiuchi, K. & Kawakami, N. (2007). Supervisors' attitudes and skills for active listening with regard to working conditions and psychological stress reactions among subordinate workers. Journal of Occupational Health 49(2): 81 -- 7.

Robertson, K. (2005).Active listening: more than just paying attention." Australian Family Physician 3 (12): 1053 -- 5.

Rowe, M.P. ( 1990). Helping People Help Themselves: An ADR Option for Interpersonal Conflict Negotiation Journal 6(3): 239-248.

Segal, M. (1997). Points of influence: a guide to using personality theory at work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Slaikeu, K.A. & Hasson, R.H. (1998). Controlling the Costs of Conflict: How to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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