I was in a position, at the end of 2017, where a number of my programs with clients happened to be finishing at the end of the calendar year.
Whilst most of our work is ongoing at Leading Teams, I was also facilitating five High Performance Leadership programs with three different clients and the end of the year was the natural conclusion to the work.
High Performing Leaders
High Performance Leadership (HPL) is a service we offer to develop an individual’s leadership capacity. Our Performance Improvement Program (PIP) is focused on the improvement of team performance, so what can naturally fall out of that is a need to focus on some individual leadership development.
The programs I was facilitating were internal, so a number of individuals had been hand-picked and recognised as either potential leaders of the business, or those who have been in a management position for a period of time without the support of much training. The programs lasted for five days, spread over a period of 6-7 months, with a sixth day being a presentation day.
One of the best days I have in my work is the final day of these programs, where each participant does a presentation of their learnings to their managers and/or others they work with.
As well as terrific feedback for me and the program, the best part is hearing what stuck from the five days; what they really learnt. I think it was Einstein who said, “Real learning takes place when the lesson is finished.” There have been some memorable presentations over the years, and not for the outstanding public speaking. Those who standout have been best represented by the thought put into it, speaking from the heart and demonstrating leadership growth. There have been props used, diagrams drawn, and plenty of stories shared to illustrate what has shaped their leadership. Some have built relationships with family members, started reading or exercising again, left jobs or relationships…the impact of these programs isn’t limited to work.
Where does facilitation come in?
This led me to reflect more broadly on our role as facilitators with teams.
I had a client of mine recently try to put a title on me and Leading Teams as ‘external consultants’ or a ‘freelance supplier’. She was new to the team and didn’t know a lot about me or what my role was in the business. Whilst neither of the titles are incorrect – I can picture the box she wanted to tick – we have never and will never behave as ‘external’ to our clients.
When the HPL programs finished last year, I was immensely proud of my group but also tinged with sadness – I would genuinely miss the individuals and getting together for our sessions. After that last day, there were many hugs, kisses and promises to stay connected, as well as emails in the following days expressing the same sentiment.
As well as sharing lessons on leadership, team work, behaviour and all the other intricacies that the HPL program covers, I learnt plenty too. What makes us great facilitators at Leading Teams is our hunger to learn and improve and quite often that comes from our clients. I was also able to ask for real estate advice, share tips on parenting, moving house and flying my dog interstate, find out where the best new restaurants in Melbourne and Brisbane were…the list could go on. Learning and sharing is a two-way process.
One of our behaviours in the Leading Teams trademark is to ‘live our model’, so, much as we advocate that you should do internally, we will build strong professional relationships with you. We lead by example in modelling that behaviour as a way to help your leaders understand that they must be accountable to the trademark we help you to establish. We embed ourselves into your team so that we’re in it with you – all the way, if you’ll let us. We are partners on your journey.
We make no apologies for this; in fact it sets us apart from other consultants and contributes to why we work with so many clients on a long term basis, becoming a valued member of their team. And we know it’s not a coincidence that our teams will more than likely experience success over that journey.
Just like we know that building relationships amongst team members improves trust, respect, accountability and ultimately your performance, the relationship between facilitator and leaders / team members is important for the same reasons – it results in performance improvement.
So, if you have to tick a box, call us an ‘external consultant’ if you have to – just please don’t expect that we will behave like one.
If you would like to speak to one of our facilitators about how they could work with your team, call the office today on 03 9654 3744.
Martine joined Leading Teams in 2008 after an 11 year teaching career. Martine is a Facilitator/Partner based in Melbourne.