Leading well with emphasis on fostering positive community and relational teamwork requires a commitment to ‘weed out’ confusion and constructively address what is causing the group anxiety.

This was I lesson I recently learned in leading a team of highly gifted individuals.  After a successful event, I began to pick up on a general sense of anxiety within our team.

Here’s the progression of how events unfolded:

Question:  Why is there a general sense of anxiety within the group?

Exploration:  After asking several members and making observations, I realized individuals were struggling with how to give and receive constructive feedback.  There was a general unease about how to say some hard things.  In addition, there was much concern about hurting feelings as well as how they would be perceived.

Goal:  I identified a critical need to establish a culture of constructive communication regarding feedback for both the sharer as well as the listener.  In addition, it was clear that taking the time to address this goal would foster both individual growth as well as group development.

Action:  At our next meeting, I provided time for group training and practice.  Based on basic communication principles for constructive feedback, we practiced giving and receiving feedback in pairs.

5 Steps to Establishing Constructive Communication:

  1. Affirm the relationship and your positive intent.
  2. Specifically describe what you observed.
  3. Share the impact of the behavior or action.
  4. Invite the listener to respond.
  5. Focus the discussion on moving forward and finding solutions together.

Result:  It was a meeting well spent.  We established a safe and healthy culture to communicate what needed to be said in a way that cared for the relationship as well as directly targeted the need for improvement.  Relationships grew stronger, goals became more achievable, and the group angst was replaced with a spirit of security and confidence.

When we have a sensitivity tuned into the emotional vibes coming from our groups or individual relationships, we can recognize it as an opportunity to pause, address it, and provide the needed support to grow.

Let your intuition guide you in leading well within community as you hold the tension of both honoring the relationships as well as achieving the goals.  When we provide the needed support to address what is causing angst, it is a preventative measure that will be well worth the time. Taking the time to stop the festering and replacing it with needed tools sets individuals and groups up for success.