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No drill sergeants need apply

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in Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

As the team leader, you want to guide the group to produce superior results. It’s tempting to hog power and dictate what you want, but you know that will alienate team members. So how can you lead without overdoing it?

The key is to get others talking, then summarize their points while adding a few of your own. The more you can codify the best of what team members say and turn their words into action, the greater your ability to transform ideas into action.

Here’s how:

Ask and record. When you invite ideas from the group, show from the start that you’ll treat their input seriously. Number each proposal. Write it on a flip chart, clarifying if necessary. Confirm you’ve captured the essence of the idea before moving on.

Make connections. Model the kind of input you want by broadening the scope, making comparisons or linking what you hear to related points.

Example: Use phrases such as “That reminds me of ...” or “Along those same lines ...” Teammates will talk more freely if you respond consistently with enthusiasm and make them feel smart.

Rotate facilitators. Don’t always take center stage. Let everyone enjoy the spotlight.

You should still pipe up on something important. But if you’re sitting among teammates rather than standing at the front of the room, you’ll be perceived as first among equals.

Step back from disputes. Beware of letting teammates get into arguments that divert attention from pressing matters. If a controversy is spinning out of control, refocus the group by finding a common thread. Say, “We all agree that ...” or “You’ve both said that ...” before shifting the focus.

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