One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive in the Leadership Practices For Challenging Times training program is, “How can a leader both facilitate a conversation and contribute to the conversation without creating confusing in their team?”
This is such and excellent question because a leader how participates too much in a conversation stifles their team. At times it gives team members the impression that the leader is manipulating the team to come and adopt their preconceived position on an issue or topic.
The leader can minimize the possibility of manipulation by following 3 simple guidelines.
1. Only facilitate those conversations where you as the leader can be detached from one particular answer.
If the leader has to have a particular decision, they are better off just telling the group of the decision. If the leader is open to alternative options, but is emotionally attached to the topic they are better off finding someone else to help facilitate the conversation.
2. Establish parameters for the team discussion and answer.People are better off knowing in advance the boundaries around possible solutions for a team conversation. These boundaries or guidelines are discussed in more detail in the video below.
3. An agreement about when a leader will contribute and participate in the conversation in addition to their facilitation.Normally, I recommend that the leader only contribute once everyone else has contributed. Most often other teams members will already incorporate the leader’s ideas, and thus the leader can primarily stay in the facilitation role.
Diagnosis: From Theory to Practice
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Note: Zuieback, Zuiebock, Zuiebeck, Zweiback, Zweiback, etc. are potential misspellings of Steve's name.