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Getting a New Leader on Board Part II

September 17, 2019 5:33 pm

In our last issue of our newsletter we introduced the first two stages for integrating a new leader into a team. We discussed how important it is that each party define what they need and are willing to offer to ensure successful integration of the new team leader while maintaining good productivity. Once each party has defined their personal needs and offers for being successful, both parties are now ready for Stage 3 of the process where they’ll meet, share and agree to which ones are required for successfully moving forward.

Stage 3: Team and Team Leader Meet to Share and Ratify Needs and Offers
My experience of this stage is that members sometimes enter this meeting with concerns that the new leader will feel ganged up on. The team leader on the other hand may feel a need to control the group and begin demonstrating their management skills. In order to avoid these pitfalls, the first step of this session is set ‘safety norms’ followed by the members’ and then the leader’s presentations. Following the presentations, both parties plan for the actions that result from the discussion. See the step-by-step notes for running this process:

Activity Process Notes
Welcome and Agenda Overview (10 minutes)
  • At the meeting the facilitator reviews the steps of the process as identified below.
  • The process does not commence until everyone ratifies (‘can live with’) the process. The facilitator will need to modify the process wherever any resistances are stated without diluting the power of this process.
Determining Norms for the Meeting (20 minutes)
  • Overview the importance of setting ‘safety norms.’ The facilitator asks the group:
  • What rules of interaction do we need to put into place to ensure that we all feel safe in disclosing our needs and offers without the other party feeling like we’re sabotaging them?
  • Flipchart all responses. The facilitator will use these rules to monitor the interpersonal climate throughout the meeting.
Team Members Presentation (60 minutes)
  • Members are given the opportunity of speaking first, to share their profile, needs and offers.
  • The leader is asked to listen and ask clarifying questions only.
Leader Presentation (30 minutes)
  • The leader is given the opportunity of presenting their profile, including leadership style, wants and offers, etc.
  • Members are asked to listen and ask questions only for clarification purposes.
Discussions and negotiations (30 to 60 minutes)
  • Once both parties have heard each other, the facilitator manages a discussion of any of the points where there appear to be differences or that require further exploration.
  • If any item needs an action plan, the facilitator can help the group identify its next steps.
  • Have a coffee break or meal planned to encourage social mixing and informal discussion.

A group’s ability to overcome its barriers with a new leader coming on board is threefold. First, the group must openly discuss what those barriers are. Second, the group must plan to reduce those barriers. Third – and most importantly – the group and its new leader must ensure follow through of those plans. In my experience the first two steps are typically done well. It’s the third stage that often proves to be difficult. Each side must be willing to compromise and let go of their untouchables in order to move forward. Be prepared as a team with a new team leader to discuss your concerns about either party not following through on plans. Build in contingencies (i.e. which of our needs might fall through or prove to be unrealistic?) Finally, be prepared to come up with some form of monitoring plan and stick to it!

Michael Goldman
President, Facilitation First

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