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Shifting from Harm to Harmony

The 3 Most Important Communication Skills for Business Leaders

As a Conflict & Communication Consultant, I am often asked my opinion on the most important skills that a manager needs, in order to inspire and lead effectively. Since each individual company and team will have its own flavor and style, you might think it nearly impossible to come up with skills that hold across industries, across teams, and across cultures. But in my experience, there are three skills that any manager would need, no matter which company, location, or industry she is in. These skills are what leaders require in order to be truly effective and drive innovation, collaboration, and productivity.

1. Listening Skills – The most important skill that a manager needs is the ability to listen to her team. A manager who cannot listen will miss opportunities for growth and won’t be available to hear warnings of any upcoming dangers or disasters. While many managers are focused on “getting the job done,” the long-term effect of this narrow vision is that the company will face higher turnover, more employee dissatisfaction, and lower productivity and profitability.

2. Perspective Shifting – The second skill that a successful leader needs is the ability to see situations from different perspectives. Shifting the lens and the ability to see a problem or situation from alternative viewpoints is an essential element of successful leadership. Combined with top-notch listening skills, this means that the manager will be able to tap into employee perspectives on a challenge, driving innovation and creative solutions.

3. Creative Inquiry – This skill is the most dynamic and expressive skill on the list. Creative inquiry involves open-questions and “what if” exploration, to better understand what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what are the options for the future. Creative inquiry is where leaders really shine in their ability to drive the team forward and set a tone of collaborative strength. It involves setting aside one’s own ideas, in favor of exploring those of the employees or teams “in the trenches” and then deciding on the best plan of action, based on the collective ideas and input.

Since many managers and leaders are promoted to their positions, they often lack the emotional intelligence and healthy communication skills that will help them shine in their new roles. These three skills are at the core of strong leadership, and applying them will ensure a leader’s long-term success. Leaders who apply these skills regularly lead teams with powerful employee engagement, dedicated staff, and overall resilience when facing challenges.

For more information on how to hone these Communication Skills, you can contact the Harmony Strategies Group
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Melody Wang

Melody Wang is a Conflict Consultant with the Harmony Strategies Group and CEO of Wang Mediation, which she founded upon graduation from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law with an MA in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Melody is a panel mediator for the New York City Family Court and serves on the Board of Directors at the Association for Conflict Resolution, Greater New York (ACR-GNY). Prior to moving to New York, Melody was an experienced civil and community mediator in Los Angeles, California, working closely with non-profits, small claim courts and the California federal court. She also led selected trainings and workshops on dispute resolution within the Asian-American community in California.  Melody has lived in the U.S., Taiwan, China and Singapore, is fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese, and especially enjoys engaging in international relations and cross-cultural conflict systems.

Dara Rossi

Dara Rossi, Ph.D. is a Conflict & Strategy Consultant with the Harmony Strategies Group. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of education and has worked with students from kindergarten through the university graduate level. Additionally, she has facilitated professional development for educators and administrators across all points on the education continuum. After10 years of service in the Department of Teaching and Learning Southern Methodist University, she launched her coaching and consulting business while continuing to serve as an adjunct professor. She holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, an MBA, an MA in Dispute Resolution, and an MAT in Education, and BS in Human Development.

Isar Mahanian

Isar Mahanian, M.Sc. is a Conflict & Strategy Consultant with the Harmony Strategies Group. She is an active mediator who coaches new mediators in the program in which she serves. Isar has worked at a fast-paced technology start-up as the Head of Human Resources, leading senior executives to mitigate and resolve workplace conflicts and creating system level improvements for employees within the company. She holds a Master’s of Science degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University. 

Kimberly Jackson Davidson

Kimberly Jackson Davidson is currently the University Ombudsperson at George Mason University and member of the Harmony Strategies Group. She spent two decades at Oberlin College in Ohio, holding positions in the Office of the Dean of Students and as Visiting Lecturer in African American Studies. During her final five and a half years there, she served all campus constituencies as Ombudsperson and Director of the Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue (YBCD). Davidson is active within the International Ombuds Association (IOA), the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds (CCCUO), and the Ombuds Section of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR). She earned a B.A. in English Literature from Spelman College in 1986 and an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in African Literature in 1991.

Hector Escalante

Hector Escalante is an experienced Ombuds and learning and development professional with over seven years of ombuds experience and over twenty years of experience developing and teaching course offerings which promote inclusion, healthy communication, and conflict resolution. He is the Director of the Ombuds Office at the University of California, Merced, having served many years as the organizational ombuds at the University of the Pacific. He is an ombuds partner with Harmony Strategies Group, and a consulting ombuds for Earthjustice and Union of Concerned Scientists.  Hector holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education. He is a United States Marine Corps veteran, a husband and father to four children. Hector’s passions include treating all with fairness, equity, dignity, and compassion and good food. 

Stuart Baker

Stuart Baker is a heart-centered strategic consultant with the Harmony Strategies Group. He makes use of all his experience in the construction industry, mediation and presenting, combined with years of spiritual pursuit, to offer a unique and broad sensitivity in his consulting work. He loves helping people deepen their harmony and connection with others, and with themselves. We are honored to have Mr. Stuart Baker on our team, pioneer of “Conscious Cooperation” – his book can be ordered here
 

Kira Nurieli

Kira Nurieli is the CEO of the Harmony Strategies Group and is an expert mediator, conflict coach, trainer/facilitator, consultant, and restorative practices facilitator. She has spent upwards of twenty years helping clients handle conflict and improve communication strategies and has presented at numerous conferences and symposia as a subject matter expert. She holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Performance from Barnard College. She especially enjoys helping individuals, teams, and lay-leaders become more impactful and empowered in their work and is honored to work alongside her esteemed colleagues with the Harmony Strategies Group.

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