This past week I challenged you to take a closer look at your team. Did you see patterns of fear in confronting learning situations?
Is there someone in your team that fades to the back? Anyone that cringes at being the center of attention? Anyone that comes up to you afterward to ask questions instead of in front of the group?
There are many factors that might tip you off to these roadblocks to learning. As the leader of your team, you can’t afford to have a circle where a team member doesn’t feel confident. That’s not to say that you’re doing something wrong if you have a team member that doesn’t feel comfortable learning in front of others, but it does mean that many times there are things you can do to help. It also doesn’t mean that you have to be a babysitter. It does mean you need to pay attention to what work environment exists with your team.
During team meetings, make a point of asking clarifying questions as a leader to your team so they feel comfortable asking questions to you. Make a point to thank people for their questions. Encourage open learning. If someone asks a question about a concept they should know, that is a GOOD sign. It means they’re comfortable enough to learn in front of you. Make sure that when they ask questions that make them vulnerable that you are lightning-fast in engaging that question. Instead of giving them a look of disapproval, eagerly answer their question with a response such as, “Rob, thank you for asking that question. I don’t ever want people to feel like there are any unaskable questions”.
That may sound contrived and staged. And if you don’t feel sincere in asking it, then don’t. However, if you do not, you need to figure out why. Not being able to react that way will get in the way of team growth.
This takes a lot of patience. As a leader patience pays off. As you do this, you become the founder of a safe circle of learning. This is vital as you are trying to lead a team with different strengths. In conjunction with this, you have to make sure that other people in the group don’t intimidate others from asking questions. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a safe circle of learning.
I am more than happy to discuss particulars one on one. Feel free to contact me with questions!