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So in a previous post I spoke of about a chronic disease, VTB. After reading that post, I realized that this disorder leads to another issue that leaders have to handle. If you have been in any leadership position, I am sure you have had to deal with the issue that I am referring to. That issue that I am referring to is the “speak up” issue.
You see what I am talking about is the others in the team, those who have the personality that prevents them from speaking up when they are in a crowd. This team member is valuable to the team, however, their ideas usually remain quietly tucked into their minds due to their fear of speaking up.
The leadership challenge is trying to figure out how to create an environment that allows these team members to feel as though they are equal owners in the project.
My suggestion is to understand that each personality type has a different way of communication. The easiest thing to do is to assume that an informal brainstorming session or a group discussion might get all of the team members involved. This, however, is only one way of getting the team members to communicate.
Another method is to follow up the group discussion by asking for each team member to provide, in writing, their favorite idea or another one that they thought of after the meeting. This allows those quiet team members a chance to participate without competing with the dominate personalities that are on the team.
Another idea is to create an “idea object” that is tossed around the group. When that object reaches another person then they need to add to an idea already presented or they can present their own,
The last one that I would offer is the idea that accomplishes two goals. As a team leader you could follow up on an individual basis. This gives each person on the team part of your undivided time. You begin the conversation with a few questions to get the conversation started, but then allow the team member to provide most of the “idea talk”. Your role will be just to take notes and get to know the team member. The added part of this method is that you will have time to learn more about that team member. This will create a more unified team as you learn about the individuals that make up your team.
This week’s experiment is to see if you can come up with different ways that allow all of your team members the opportunity to communicate.