What is “responsiveness” and why is it so important in communication?

Responsiveness In Management And Leadership

Responsiveness may be THE essential leadership skill.

Being responsive in communication has a very specific, but obvious meaning once you know what it is, and responsiveness is absolutely critical for creating better relationships, trust, and rapport with people at home and at work. And the neat part is you already know what it’s NOT.

Responsiveness, in communication, refers to the degree that what YOU say, responds clearly and directly, to what the other person just said. If you are being responsive, the other person knows you are paying attention, and care enough about what he or she is talking about to “stay on that topic”.

The opposite, or non-responsiveness, is exceedingly common in regular speech. More often than not one person will change the subject (sometimes in a subtle way, sometimes in a crude way) to themselves, or to a topic they want to discuss. The result is that the conversation is disjointed and disconnected, with both parties walking away feeling the whole thing was rather pointless, or feeling unhappy with the other person.

Responsiveness is an approach you can intentionally cultivate, by paying attention to what the other person says, and responding directly to it BEFORE shifting the focus of the conversation to yourself. Give up some control and let the other person play. You’ll find that the results can be rather astounding. There is so little responsiveness going on in most communication that when you are responsive, you separate yourself as being somewhat special and interpersonally valuable.

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