Building the Skills of Insight

To eminent systems therapist David Kantor, learning to recognize the hidden patterns in conversation is the first step toward more effective executive leadership.

Editor’s Note: see a related video by David Kantor, which describes how leaders can uncover hidden patterns in conversation in order to more effectively inspire their teams, and shape group conversations.
Content: Thought Leader | Author: David Kantor | Source: strategy+business | Subjects: Leadership, Management, Organizational Behavior, Personal Development

Reading the Room: Group Dynamics for Coaches and Leaders

In Reading the Room, renowned systems psychologist and family therapist David Kantor applies his theory of structural dynamics to help leaders and coaches understand and improve communication within their teams. He helps readers understand how and why they and their teams communicate differently when faced with low-stakes or high-stakes situations, and he provides a framework to help improve leadership behavior in high-stakes situations.

Acknowledging that early … [ Read more ]

David Kantor

There are four basic roles you can play in a conversation. (I also call them action stances.) You can move: Start something new, like saying, “We need to spend less time in these meetings.” You can follow someone else’s move, by agreeing with it: “Yes, I’ve been concerned about the same thing.” You can oppose the move, raising objections or trying to stop it: “I … [ Read more ]

David Kantor

All the governance structures in the world can be boiled down to three types. The open system is consensual and unregulated until it hits a point of action, and then an authority, chosen by the group, decides. A representative democracy is an open system. In the closed system, authority rests with position—the closer you are to the top of the hierarchy, the more authority you … [ Read more ]

David Kantor

Some acts of speech are in the affect domain; they involve words of feeling, seeking an increase in connection and intimacy. “This decision seems pretty heartless. I wonder how people will feel about it.”

Other speech acts are in the power domain, using words about getting things done, and their purpose is increasing competence and efficacy. “Who’s going to make sure that there’s follow-through here?”

Finally, there … [ Read more ]

Achieving Breakthroughs in Executive Team Performance

This article examines team dynamics in light of the Kantor Four-Player system, an empirically based model of the structure of behavior (aside from the content of the behavior) in human systems. This system provides a simple but powerful framework for seeing and shifting team behavior. Specifically, careful observation indicates that, when we strip complex interactions to their bare essence, team members display four types of … [ Read more ]

Creating Business Results Through Team Learning

“How can teams function optimally? And why do they become dysfunctional in the first place? In many cases, a team stagnates despite persistent and well intentioned attempts to address key issues. Or, interventions appear to help initially, but short-term progress quickly evaporates. To create long-term improvement, teams need a more systemic discipline of team learning – one that integrates existing approaches and tools while providing … [ Read more ]