Be in Front, Not Behind.

Posted by Kristin Arnold on March 11, 2008

As a high stakes meeting facilitator, I go to a lot of meetings. Really important meetings where you believe “leadership” is highly supportive of the team’s work. At least that’s what is said….but may not look like it to the participants.

At the very least, show up to start the day. I don’t care if your plane landed late last night, there is a crisis back in the office, or your belief that your involvement might hinder full team participation. If that’s the case, then LEAVE after your initial words of encouragement and support.

Your team needs to KNOW that you are not only behind the initiative but in front of it, leading and inspiring extraordinary things to occur.

Question: How do you show your support for your team’s work?

Here are some of my ideas to start the session with a strong opening:

  • Give them your personal perspective as to why this time together is important as well as the organization’s perspective and how it fits in with the strategic direction of the organization
  • Describe what is at stake and what can be gained when the team is successful
  • Describe what success looks like (outcomes)
  • Encourage a spirit of openness and that their comments are valued and (only if it’s true) will be held “confidential”
  • Encourage creativity and why (again, only if you mean it)
  • Express your commitment to follow through – on whatever the team decides (if this is a problem, then you need to participate in the discussion – so that your contributions will be part of building a consensus.)
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