Facilitating Culture Changes
James Shimmen

James Shimmen

Operations Director

The Schroder Series; Enabling Openness

For our next stop on our whistle stop tour of the Schroder Framework behaviours we will be looking at Enabling Openness or EO as its commonly shortened to. EO is one of the 3 behaviours found in the Involves cluster  and is all about interacting with others with openness and respect, actively listening to others and seeking to really understand people deeply, asking questions to uncover thoughts and feelings; understanding and empathy.

When I think of someone who is an expert at getting others to open up and respectfully encourage others to share their true thoughts and feelings, the person the jumps to mind is the documentarian legend that is Louis Theroux.

Louis Theroux

Over a long career Louis has met with and produced documentaries on a diverse range on individuals, from the obscure such as the Joe Exotic AKA the Tiger King, to the controversial such as Jimmy Saville. Louis’ expertise for putting his subjects at ease and allowing them to open up and share their true thoughts and feelings have provide some truly unique and great television moments.

So, what is it about Louis and the way he conducts himself that allows him to get his subjects to let him in? If we look at Louis in the context of the Enabling Openness behaviour from Schroder its very clear that he is operating and an extremely high level. Those who excel at EO encourage people to fully and openly state their true ideas, feelings and beliefs.  They create a climate of trust and openness in which people are valued for saying what they really think, feel and believe and can do so without any fear of criticism, judgement or punishment. If you have watched any of Louis’ documentaries you will have seen how Louis embeds himself with the world of his subjects to build trust and empathy with them and creating an environment where by they feel safe to open up to the experience and show their true thoughts and feelings.

Louis Theroux

Other high higher functions of EO include testing and validating one’s own understanding of another’s ideas, feelings or beliefs by using paraphrasing and summary clarification to ensure that their perspective or viewpoint is fully understood.  Louis regularly does this with his subjects repeating back what they have said in his own words to try to ensure he is clear on what they mean and that their true thoughts have been expressed.

Those with a high level of EO are also likely to be emotionally intelligent and use this to respond to different individual requirements to encourage openness, commits time and energy to listening and encouraging others to discuss their true thoughts, concerns and feelings. In some of Louis more challenging documentaries such as those dealing with incarceration or addiction Louis can be seen to be respectful and kind will still probing extremely challenging subjects.

What can leader learn from Louis? Leaders with high levels of EO can help to foster open and engaging environments where individuals can feel free to share their true thoughts and feeling allowing good ideas to flourish from conversations where people feel safe to share their views. Encouraging dialogue and ensuring that peoples feelings are truly heard and understood and treating people with respect and empathy will pay dividends in the engagement and productivity of those around them.

If you want to know more about the Schroder framework, keep an eye out for more from this series or get in touch today and see how it could help your leaders drive success!

If you would like to know more about how we can help and support your organisation, please get in touch:  info@getfeedback.net or give us a call on 01491 845 536.

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