Leadership Tioga: Learning to Lead above the Line

The Leadership Tioga class had a remarkable session on Transformational Communication. Speaker Dick Orth is well versed on the topic. With 38 years of experience as facilitator, change leader and leadership coach, Orth has help organizations in areas such as decision-making, collaborative problem solving and leadership development.

According to Orth, Transformational Communication is simple but not easy. To begin we must realize that we all have leadership responsibilities to transform our community. We must first look at ourselves before we can transform others. How do we do this?

Orth explained the importance of becoming aware of our words and body language and how they can have a positive or negative affect on others. His message is “to live above the line.” This line separates constructive and trusting behaviors over passive / aggressive, fear inducing critical behaviors. 

To be above the line we must learn to empowers others not control them, show empathy not indifference, speak with someone instead of giving them a talking to, being objective not judgmental and teaching rather than finding fault. In doing this we become more sensitive, open and direct. 

Orth states you can be sensitive, open and direct all at once but the levels of each may vary. This is very true in the stages of team development. When a team is in the forming stage, sensitivity is very high. The second stage of team development, storming, being direct becomes the highest level. In the third stage, norming, sensitive and open are moving up into the high category with being direct. Finally in the fourth stage of team development, high performing, all levels reach their peak and the team is working well together. In a nutshell, lead with sensitivity; being open and direct will follow!

Orth’s final thought provoking questions to the class was “How many people do we come in contact with each day? How do our words and actions affect them? Live above the line!”

To learn more about Leadership Tioga, contact Lisa Grant, Leadership Tioga facilitator by email to lmgrant2368@gmail.com or call the Tioga County Chamber of Commerce at (607) 687-2020. Registration for next year’s class will begin soon.

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