Talk Sense: Communicating to Lead and Learn

Barry Jentz shows how leaders can build the requisite trust and credibility for improving organizational performance. Typically, leaders “talk tough” to improve performance. When that doesn't work, they “talk nice” (or vice-versa). By learning to “talk sense,” leaders can succeed in their efforts to improve performance.

Leaders who watch videotapes of themselves handling difficult interactions confront their too tough or too nice approaches to improving performance in the form of sharp discrepancies between their self-image and how they actually behave. Leaders who believe they are open and truthful observe themselves withholding information, communicating opaquely, and speaking judgmentally without explanation or evidence. Leaders who think they are good listeners notice they seldom pay attention to what others are saying. And leaders who pride themselves on promoting an open culture of learning discover that they are closed and dismissive. As long as they remain blind to these discrepancies, leaders inadvertently foster mistrust— and lose the very credibility they are attempting to gain. Without trust and credibility (surely the bedrock of effective leadership), leaders cannot advance their agendas for improving performance. Using stories that illustrate both inept and skillful communication, Talk Sense will walk you through a transformational process of:

  • Discovering discrepancies between your self-image and actual behavior
  • Developing a vision for high-performing, data-informed school culture
  • Inventing a new mind-set, a new skill set, and a new rationale for communication, and
  • Practicing in a "protected setting" through self-help exercises

Your transformational experience will take place in stories about interactions at home as well as work, and so will help you to integrate your home and work lives. Integrating the two is vital to leadership effectiveness.

Product information

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Barry Jentz
190 pages
10.8 × 8.4 × 0.4 in, Paperback