What Do They Have in Common?

What do the topics of “followership, teambuilding, and content review” have in common? Keep reading for my suggested answer.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend and volunteer at the American Society of Training & Development’s fourth Regional conference. During this time, I attended three breakout sessions on different learning topics; followership, teambuilding, and content review.

The Followership session was a discourse on a proposed model of four types of employees who follow a leader in an organization. The idea was that employees are either a) yes people, b) slackers, c) criticizers, or d) self-starters.

The Teambuilding session discussed the idea of the parts of a team that can make or break the team. For example, mission/goals, roles, work processes, and relationships are components of a team, and according to the presenters, are also possible areas where teams can break down.

Last but not least, I attended a session on Managing the Content Review Process. We looked at ensuring that our projects have a proper review cycle so that clients/learners are satisfied with the end result.

What common thread weaves through all of these sessions?

Answer: Setting expectations.

Session 1: Followership
How do managers develop their employees, manage expectations, and encourage employees to bring their strengths to the table? As an employee, how are you clarifying your expectations within your workgroups? Do you expect your boss to give you answers or solve difficult situations, or do you handle it to the best of your ability and let the boss know the result? If you have a critique of a situation, do you simply point out the flaw, or do you also propose a solution?

Session 2: Teambuilding
How are teams set up, and how are roles defined so there is minimal confusion as the project evolves? What happens if something goes well? What happens if something does not go well?

Session 3: Managing Content Reviews
How do we prepare project reviewers to give much needed feedback that is specific and timely? Are roles clearly defined so people know where they can benefit the project most? Do people understand the consequences of not providing reviews on a project? Are the right people reviewing the project?

Setting expectations with people we work with, whether we are the lead or the one being led, is crucial to success. Understanding the purpose of our role and the work to be done means that we are free to execute on our responsibilities. Creating a secure environment in which people can discuss both successes AND failures without fail creates a sense of “where do I fit and why do I matter” for all players on the job, on the team, and on the review process.

So, how are we going to work together? Let’s start there!

Leadership and Social Media

Recently I heard from a friend who was reprimanded at work for being active on LinkedIn. His boss asked him directly if he were looking for a new job. He said, “No. I am not. I have been asked to provide recommendations for some colleagues who have recently lost jobs.”

A couple of things come to mind when an employee is put in this situation:

1.) How did the boss know the employee was on LinkedIn, if he/she is not on it as well?

2.) What is the effect on the working relationship between an employee and his/her organization when these questions are asked?

* The employee is now afraid to write recommendations for business partners, and is averse to using LinkedIn as a networking and learning tool for his work.

* The boss, the leader in this organization, is not providing trust. How then, will employees be able to give trust in return?

3.) There is a lack of understanding about what the capabilities are of LinkedIn. It is not just for job seekers; it can lead to new clients, it can be a way to keep up with business relationships, and a way to learn using social media, to name a few applications. And yes, it can also be used for job searching.

What thoughts do you have on this situation, and how would you handle it?