At a recent Professional Marketing workshop on “Delegation, coaching and team management”  I asked delegates from a variety of roles and professional service firms to provide their one-word summary of the themes explored during the day. Here are their 12 thoughts on delegation, coaching and team management:

1. Be adaptive

Having explored various models of leadership we concentrated on situational leadership. This requires us to be mindful of the situation, the task and the people involved and adapt our style accordingly.

2. Be confident

We need to both feel confident and project self-confidence to be effective facilitators and leaders. Confidence is explored further here.

3. Delegate mindfully

There is more to delegation than simply allocating a task to someone else. We looked at a number of delegation models and processes depending on the task and the people to whom the task was being delegated.

4. Be empathic

Leaders need strong emotional intelligence (EQ or EI) skills. Empathy – the ability to see things from another person’s point of view (regardless of how different they may be) – is vital.

We cannot assume that the way we thought and felt when we were younger is the way that people think and feel now. There are generational differences.  We need to form a strong relationship and ask questions and challenge our assumptions so we can learn how they see the world.

5. Enthuse

We need to enthuse and motivate our people. We talked briefly about intrinsic motivation (what we respond to internally) and extrinsic motivation (how we respond to external rewards). Our own enthusiasm is also catching – see emotional contagion 

6. Provide feedback

We saw how critical it was that we provide constant feedback to our people and that the ratio of that feedback should be five positive to one constructive.

7. Set goals

Whether we are trying to ensure that the team is performing well or developing the individuals within that team we must set clear goals that are aligned to the overall strategy. Goal-setting skills, challenging limiting assumptions and performance monitoring are therefore key for a leader.

8. Support growth

One of the key responsibilities of leaders – in addition to achieving the team’s goals – is to develop and grow people so that they reach their full potential. Leaders also need to constantly grow and develop. We considered growth with compassionate coaching

9. Promote inclusion

Team members need to feel engaged and included. They must have the opportunity to express their views and ideas and to be heard. They need to feel included in team communications and activities. This is an element of employee engagement 

10. Avoid labelling

We looked at how – when we assign a label to someone such as “slow” or “introverted” we will then only see behaviours that support this internal mental model. So we must take care to keep an open mind and not pre-judge behaviour. We can use reframing to translate negative labels into positive ones  A related issue is where people are “pigeon-holed” into a particular type of work and not allowed to develop in other areas and therefore become demotivated.

11. Listen

There is little point in asking questions if we don’t do listen carefully to what is said in response. Many argue that we listen to respond rather to understand. Active listening is a key skill  and listening is vital for coaching 

12. Question

We should not make assumptions about how people feel or think. We should ask them questions. We saw that questioning was a key technique in coaching

We also had a discussion about the difference between organisations that have a formal and traditional hierarchy and management structure and those that adopt more of a holacracy. This is described in the book “Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy” by Brian J. Robertson. This provides a framework for encoding autonomy, agility, and purpose-alignment into an organization’s DNA. Job descriptions are replaced with roles and the organisation’s and team’s purpose becomes the driving force for action.