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3. Disengaging vs Empowering

Debrief activity and questions

1. Please begin by sharing with each other, or writing down if you are on your own, a few of the messages from the video that stayed with you. What ideas stuck? Which ideas made more sense for you, or somehow struck a chord?

2. You will recall that disempowering managers make themselves remote to their team, especially in connection to clarifying expectations of team members in their role, providing ongoing feedback in relation to those expectations, and addressing the developmental needs of team members.

Now, while it is especially important that the following exercise be done by managers of people, I recommend it for everyone.

Draw a horizontal line along the page and write disengaging at one end and empowering at the other.

For those who are managers, please consider how those in your team might be experiencing you in relation to this scale. Also, remember you don’t have to be a manager to have expectations of others. In fact, it’s likely you have expectations of each person with whom you work. So, for both managers and those without direct reports, do you communicate your expectations clearly? Do you provide feedback to others about how they are meeting your expectations? Do you look to support the development of others while you work with them?

In the context of these questions, put a mark on the line showing where you are on this continuum.

If you placed yourself at the empowering end, jot down what are you doing that you consider is empowering? If you placed yourself at the disengaging end, jot down what you are doing (or not doing) that is prompting you to place yourself at that end of this scale?
If you placed yourself in the middle area of this scale, jot down one practice of yours that you think is empowering, and one that you think is disengaging.

3. In the context of your reflections in question 2, please jot down now any action you think might be wise to take. More specifically, how can you do more of what is helping, and less of what is not?

4. Let’s spend a moment doing the exercise described at the conclusion of the video. Draw another line on the page. Please write delighted with performance at one end, and disappointed with performance at the other.

For managers, please locate your team members somewhere on this continuum. For those without reports, simply locate those who you work with most often, and who are important in enabling you to achieve your desired outcome.

Now consider the following questions in relation to those in the disappointed with performance half of the line,

    • How long have your felt this way about their performance?
    • What specific parts of their performance are below your expectations?
    • Would this person be surprised to find out you felt this way?
    • What personal fears or anxieties can you identify in relation to talking with this person about their performance?
    • What are you frightened might happen if you raised your concerns?
    • What specific messages can you plan to send them about the aspects of their performance that you would like to see changed?

Plan whatever action might be required by you now, in the context of the answers you wrote to the above questions.

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