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How do you lead a partnership well? Recognize others

How much time do you spend reflecting on yourself vs. others? Do you pay attention to the non-verbal communication happening during your meetings? Do you try to really understand what is going on with your teams or partnerships?  Once you “know yourself” the next important step is to recognize others. Pay attention to what they are saying – or what they are not saying.  Join me this week, as I provide 3 ideas on how you can actively recognize others when working with a partnership.

  1. Ask. You can ask for feedback when facilitating a large group meeting. This works particularly well if there is a high-level of trust among the members of the group. You can also ask for feedback during one-on-one or small group meetings. This can be particularly important if there may be some trust issues among members of the larger group or if you have some folks who tend to dominate the meeting conversations. Many years ago, one of my colleagues and I traveled to visit each of our key partners for a small group discussion to better understand what was working well, what needed to be changed and what they recommended. We were surprised to discover that most folks said basically the same thing; however, no one was willing to share this during a large group meeting. Once we heard this from so many different partners, we were able to organize the collective thoughts and bring it up during a large group meeting. This allowed folks to have an opportunity to share their honest perspectives and also be “protected” by having this summarized and they could provide feedback on the “collective” proposal.
  2. Observe. Find someone (or a few folks) who do a particularly good job of recognizing and valuing others and take notes on what they do – or don’t do. You may also want to spend some time with this person to ask more specific questions. Listen closely, take notes and find ways to emulate their ability to recognize others.
  3. Recruit. Depending upon your team or partnership, it may be helpful to recruit an outside evaluator who can ask for feedback from your partnership members. This is especially true if you have been in your leadership role for a while or you have noticed that some people are not willing to be completely honest with you (yes, that “know yourself” comes in handy again! 🙂 ) The outside evaluator can conduct interviews or focus groups with members of your partnerships and can organize and summarize the results into recommendations.

When you are learning to recognize others, it really helps when you can SEE them – and they can see you. If you can garner this feedback through in-person meetings, that is great. However, I know it’s not always possible with limited time and travel funds. This is one of the reasons, I highly recommend sharing your camera and asking for participants to share their cameras during online meetings. The more you can see and hear your partnership members, the better you will be able to recognize the verbal and non-verbal cues that help you lead a partnership well.

So what about you? Which of these three – Ask, Observe or Recruit – are you going to try this week?

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