October 24

What Good is More Communication if You Can’t Do So Effectively? | WT #25


Collaboration boils down to constant communication, resulting in greater trust. But this begs the question: what if your actual communication skills need improvement? 

Here’s a helpful metaphor – according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, ‘English as a second language is quickly becoming a professionalized industry. There was a time when simply being a native speaker was enough for a young backpacker to get a job teaching English in countries as far afield as Japan and Turkey.

The article goes on to say that state media China Daily estimates there were as many as 400 million English language learners on the mainland at the start of the decade, more than the population of the U.S., and with non-native English speakers across the globe seen as outnumbering native speakers, the teaching of English as a second language has evolved from a niche business into a fully-fledged, global phenomenon. Certified teachers are replacing backpackers in classrooms around the world.

Why? Fine-tuned English is now the global standard. No matter how well one might understand grammatical concepts on paper or grasp the origins of the language, the ability to speak correctly matters most. “What’s the point of learning English if nobody understands what you’re saying?” In the same vein, fine-tuned collaboration skills and behavior are expected now. Raw, collaborative talent is not enough.

What’s my point? – Just as fine-tuned English speaking skills are not instinctive, collaboration is not instinctive. What I mean is you can’t just ‘do it’ when your money, power or reputation is on the line. You have to fine-tune your collaborative skills and behavior to be better at being who you are in challenging situations.

On a global level, English is now seen as a skill needed by a competitive workforce or to be employable just like skillful use Microsoft Word or Excel.

Clients or members of a project team don’t buy your product. They buy how good you are at being who you are, especially when things aren’t going your way.

About the author 

Darren Smith

Darren Smith is Co-Founder of the Authentic Leadership Institute. He is a native Texan and a graduate of Dallas Jesuit and Texas A&M University. Over the past 25 years, Darren has visited 35 countries and led 100 strategy programs. He and his wife have five children.


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