Posts Tagged ‘new insights’

  • Leaders: Create a thinking environment that says ‘you matter’!

    Date: 2012.02.06 | Category: Leadership Testimonial | Response: 0

    Nancy Klein’s ‘Time to Think’ (1999) Listening to Ignite the Human Mind ‘ argues that the leader’s first job is to create a thinking environment from top to bottom. Her book makes for compelling reading. As part of her quest to create more thinking environments in organisations she outlines a whole different way of running team meetings.  She  asks us to consider nine principles :-

    At the beginning;

    • Give everyone a turn to speak at different points of the meeting without interruption. This alone increases the quality of thinking dramatically and is an important ground rule to be established at the beginning.
    • Ask everyone to say what is going well in their work, or in their team’s work


    • Give attention without interruption during open and even fiery discussion. Everyone will get their turn, just allow others to finish before exchanging ideas, disagreeing etc
    • Ask incisive questions to reveal and remove assumptions that are limiting ideas
    • Divide into thinking partnerships when thinking stalls (move people into pairs and give them 5 mins each to think aloud without interruption and with their partner’s appreciative attention and see what new insights, questions or limiting assumptions have been revealed)
    • Go round intermittently to give everyone a turn to say what they think now
    • Enable people to say what they really think, including the negative and what people feel really needs saying ( e.g naming the elephant in the room!)
    • Allow people to express their feelings ( sadness, anger, joy, despondency, excitement)

    At the end

    • ask everyone what they thought went well in the meeting and what they respect in each other

    I particularly liked two underpinning assertions.

    • Giving everyone a turn increases the intelligence of groups. Knowing they won’t be interrupted frees people to think faster and say less.
    • A thinking environment says back to you,  ‘you matter’!

    Critical to creating a thinking environment is the quality of attention you give to each and everyone of your team . Listen as if your leadership depends on it, it does! Listen to encourage others inventiveness, confidence in stating their truth and resourcefulness. Then follow through with really powerful questions.

    Quality of attention, being truly present, listening at a deep level (for limiting assumptions and resourcefulness), asking powerful questions, providing confidence for the client to voice how they really feel about something, holding a space for new ideas and options to emerge are all core components of a coaching approach and seem very appropriate for International Coaching week.

    The link to the video explores ‘The Quality of our Attention

    more fully and offers a quick experiment for you as a leader to check out. Enter password Inspiredfellowship.

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