Guide Your Team Members to Where You Want Them to Go

An effective leader, manager, facilitator, coach and mentor will never tell you what you need to do. They will ask questions and help you discover the answer for yourself. Only in this way will you take ownership and become committed to carrying out the idea.

So how can you guide team members to meet the objectives you’ve set for your session?

When you think about your own experiences as a participant, it’s not unusual to remember as much about the facilitator as about the session content. This is because behaviors modeled by a facilitator can have a powerful impact on group and individual performance. In fact, participants are likely to discount the quality and usefulness of the session content if the facilitator’s behavior is inconsistent with the values or behaviors being promoted.


Maintaining and enhancing the self-esteem of participants

For most participants, the motivation to participate can be increased by creating a climate that boosts their confidence. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. See Team Motivation:Boosting the Confidence of Participants in Team Meetings.

Focusing on a participant’s behavior and not on personality

Participants respond more productively when their behavior is discussed than when references are made to their personality or attitudes. The following will help you focus on behavior:

  • Ask for specific examples of general or judgmental statements
  • Use examples when presenting an idea
  • Ask, “In what way?”, or say “I’m not sure I understand your point”
  • Ask for evidence, whether praise or criticism, don’t accept generalities, and ask for specifics
  • When offering praise, explain why it is being offered

Actively listen and show understanding

In active listening, the facilitator accepts what is being said without making any value judgments, clarifies the feelings being expressed, and reflects this back to the participant. Situations in which active listening can be particularly helpful, or even critical, include:

  • When a participant is being uncooperative, or overly critical
  • When a participant’s comment is unclear and confusing
  • When participants keep changing the issue being discussed
  • When a participant is rambling or “grandstanding”
  • When a participant’s remark is important to the group’s learning
  • When a participant disagrees with a suggested process, or the direction that the discussion is taking

Using reinforcement to shape learning

Participant behaviors that are rewarded tend to be repeated and strengthened. Reinforcing is a three-step process that involves:

  1. Identifying the specific, observable behavior.
  2. Explaining what effect the behavior had on the session’s process
  3. Indicating your positive feelings about the behavior.

There are several verbal and non-verbal reinforcing behaviors to use, including:

  • Referring back to a participant’s ideas or examples
  • Using people’s names whenever possible
  • Paraphrasing or writing the participant’s suggestions on flip charts rather than your own
  • Nodding of the head
  • Making eye contact and smiling
  • Moving closer to the participant as they respond

It is essential for facilitators to be able to model the behaviors they are requesting of participants. One of the significant differences between effective and ineffective facilitation is the effectiveness of the facilitator as a behavioral model.

This subject is covered under preparing to lead a team effectiveness meeting in my latest book,Motivate Your Team in 30 Days.  Get your free 20-page excerpt .

Bob Urichuck

Bob Urichuck is an internationally sought after speaker, trainer—founder of the “Buyer Focused” Velocity Selling System—and best-selling author in six languages. His latest books, Velocity Selling: How to Attract, Engage and Empower Buyers to Buy, and Motivate Your Team in 30 Days are new in 2014.

Sales Velocity. Your Bottom Line. Our Passion

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