I asked this of a friend recently regarding a personal group I was working with, wondering if this role just might be essential in all areas of life. I hate being managed, it goes with my personality and leadership style, so I was a little sheepish when I asked. He liked the idea, and we relayed stories of conversations gone wrong in all kinds of different settings. I think he might be right, even if it seems a little overboard.
Everyone is right in their own eyes, just like the proverb alludes to, but we don’t like being considered a fool. The problem is in communication or community breakdown we just might look so.
Just consider the last Twitter spat you witnessed. Somehow the ability to voice an opinion strongly coincides with trustworthiness or all other benchmarks of a reliable source. If you apply those same rules to life and matters of the heart, we look like a ship of fools yelling for order. Our ideal of order.
Any good team, working group, family, task force, etc. relies on clear communication, usually made up of a few key elements:
The first 2 are for the sake of each person, the second 2 are for the sake of the group. All 4 are needed for the sake of the agreed upon cause or purpose. In the case of high functioning individuals, resolution of immediate tasks is easy to come by. Highly extroverted individuals can talk over one another until they seem to have verbalized all thoughts are ready to move. Just to name a few examples.
But what about when there is a communication breakdown or a misinterpretation of agreements? Or worse, someone veers off the tracks? This is where a chairperson is very helpful. Call them your point person, director, mediator, whatever; they are necessary.
A good chairperson will:
- Create a trusting environment. No one will be betrayed, it is safe to be on the team, and things agreed to will get done.
- Create a sense of freedom. Regardless of level of empowerment needed, each person comes to the table as a separate agent in how they respond and act.
- Bring clarity before you leave the table. Communication is steered, plans are articulated, people are arranged for the best possible outcome.
- Make a safe place of accountability. They hold everyone accountable to the directive. There is freedom, but all have freely chosen to be part of the group; trust is built by everyone carrying their weight, and upholding the mission together.
So what term do you use for the chairperson at your table? Or are they simply silently implied?
Let me know if you would like some assistance with how your group functions: