Sharing Leadership Responsibilities
Shared leadership is a concept that is key to effective and
efficient team process. Simply stated, each and every member of the
team has and should take responsibility for leading the team
process. It needs to be remembered that in the heat of an important
issue that means a lot to you, it will be almost impossible to
participate in the discussion and monitor the overall process of the
meeting and of other members. To counteract this situation, the team
process should incorporate shared leadership which will take the
form less involved members helping the more involved members stay
"on process" (more on that soon).
During any given portion of the Strategy Planning process there will
typically be a couple of team members that are less involved with
the issue at hand. These less involved members, should during this
time take on the responsibility for assisting the more involved
members stick to the team process. In this way the responsibility
for managing the meeting time rotates amongst the team members which
keeps any one person from dominating the meeting and ultimately
assists in working through the agenda in a quicker and more
Good meetings, those that have stayed on track, not gone over the
time allotted and have succeeded in accomplishing tangible results
are a joy to participate in. Experiencing this outcome is really a
simple task that hinges on following a few easily define processes.
These include the use of a clearly defined process, proposals,
process checking and critique.
The rules for good team process are simple and number very few. Have
a pre-prepared agenda complete with topics, time allotments and
assigned presenters and sticking to it. Items that are not on the
agenda but deserve consideration during the meeting should be
flagged for attention at the end of the meeting.
All agenda items should have incorporated into them a proposal that
is designed to complete the agenda item, Strategic Initiatives
leaving it a neatly wrapped up completed package. The proposal
process typically goes as follows:
• The proposal is stated by its presenter.
• The presenter follows up with any background information that is
deemed necessary (hopefully, much of this information was published
prior to the meeting with the agenda).
• A "poll" is taken with each member choosing to be in agreement,
not in agreement or passing.
• Member passing are asked what further information they need to
make a choice and subsequently given that additional information.
• When each member is either for or against the proposal, those in
the majority try through a questioning process, to determine what
those in the minority need to change their view. This continues,
hopefully with both sides being willing to give and modify their
position until all members have reached a consensus.
• Once consensus has been reached the proposal is either followed
(if approved) or not (if not approved).
Process checks are simply what their name would imply. Verbal checks
that acknowledge a point in the process that has gone awry. Their
purpose is not to ridicule the members who have strayed from the
process but to acknowledge the deviation and to bring the process
back into alignment. Checks to the process should be made as soon as
the need arises. Typical things that will deserve a process check
• Going over the allotted time on an agenda item.
• Interrupting another members who is speaking.
• Having one or more "side" conversations going on simultaneously.
• Straying from the subject matter of the current agenda.
• Acknowledging someone who is getting a little too personal with
their feedback or remarks.
• Not following the rules for running a proposal.
• Breaking or bending any other team agreements that are in force.
Every Strategy Planning meeting should end with a critique by all
members. The purpose for this critique is to acknowledge the
positives and the negatives that each member experienced during the
meeting. Ultimately, acknowledging these experiences creates a open
reinforcement of what works and what does not work and should be
changed. Again, as in all parts of the process to this point, it is
the responsibility of each team member to take this information and
put it to good use.
Members who critique the meeting should organize their input around
those things that helped the meeting and those that hindered the
meeting. Critique should stick to observable issues or a persons own
feelings. It is not an opportunity to openly judge or belittle
fellow team members. Some examples of typical critique data are:
• It was not helpful that several member were late to the meeting.
• It was helpful that the agenda was out on time and that supporting
documentation was provided for each agenda item.
• I felt that you (name of person) took my comment
regarding.......... personally, and it wasn't meant that
way at all.
• It was helpful that (name(s) of person(s)) made...........
process checks to help us stay on track during the meeting.
• It was not helpful that several times during the meeting we had
to stop side conversations.
• It was not helpful that (name of person(s)) left the meeting to
take phone calls.
Any points of feedback will ultimately help the meeting process in
the future. It should also be noted that even if someone else has
already made the points that you wanted to make, doing so again is
helpful to show that maybe it wasn't an isolated experience.
Following a predetermined, agreed upon process is necessary for
having effective and productive meetings in the time allowed.
Nothing can and will be more frustrating than spending four hours in
a meeting and then leaving it with little or no quantifiable
To be continued