You can say “That’s an interesting issue, but perhaps we should get back to the original discussion.” Creating this atmosphere stimulates people to raise and resolve concerns that have rumbled on, discuss difficult or controversial issues and work together towards a solution. Forming a partnership with a skilled external facilitator can deliver tangible benefits.
Being an effective team manager means knowing yourself and separating your personal triggers from those of the organization and the team you are managing. Your team members will likely do things wrong at some stage, and you should absolutely be prepared to discuss how to improve behaviors and processes with your colleagues. The team stakeholder is the person who has an interest or influence in the team’s work and outcomes, and who can affect or be affected by the team’s performance and results. The team stakeholder can be internal or external to the organization, and can have positive or negative impacts on the team. The team stakeholder is responsible for providing input, feedback, and support to the team, as well as for receiving outputs, benefits, and value from the team. The team facilitator can help the team stakeholder by identifying and engaging the relevant stakeholders, managing their expectations and interests, and ensuring their satisfaction and involvement.
Start discussions with a check-in
People management without direct, face-to-face conversation is difficult. A great team manager might use tools like Slack to communicate with their team but remember the value of face-to-face chats, in-person meetings, and phone calls. Sometimes, a difficult team management issue can be resolved much more quickly in a phone call than it can be over email or in a collaboration tool. Certain situations demand the use of technology, and co-creating and collaborating is made much more productive with online tools. In today’s workplace, technology is everywhere and managers can leverage online tools to manage projects, design workshops and keep their team connected.
Finally, encourage your team to participate in the event and interact with each other. Facilitation, known as the art of hosting, in other words creating an environment and process within where people feel sufficiently safe and supported to disclose what they’re thinking and feeling. Facilitation of important meetings can provide the framework for your sessions and the context in which your group can move forwards in a different way. They ask key questions that stimulate critical thinking and help the team delve deeper into the subject matter.
How to Increase Conversation in Meetings
Whether you’re a Scrum Master, a Product Owner, or a Development Team member, mastering professional scrum facilitation skills can significantly enhance your contributions to your team’s success. Find more information and register for our Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills™ course here. The version of facilitation most of us are familiar with includes using activities, tools, and methods in a workshop setting. Experienced professional facilitators develop an extensive toolkit of proven-to-work processes, activities, and templates for this purpose. In practice, facilitation skills are most often used when designing and then leading groups through a collaborative process such as a workshop.
Meanwhile, the facilitator makes sure the group process is working and everyone has a voice. The result is well worth having – successful outcomes steered in the right direction by a more cohesive group. They create a safe and supportive environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their concerns and engaging in open dialogue.
Critical skills that make virtual teamwork effective
This is a tough balance but one well worth striking as it can improve the efficacy of any given task or workshop. Organizational change can be difficult for a team to get their heads around. By feathering preparatory tasks into the run-up to a decisive meeting, you can help that process easier to digest for all involved. Facilitators know that in order to deliver effective workshops, you need to be at your best so that you can help other people be at their best. Investing in self-care means investing in the workplace happiness and productivity of not only yourself but your entire team. Connecting with your team via conference calls or online meetings is becoming increasingly prevalent for teams of all shapes and sizes.
A rise in remote working and distributed teams means that team members are more likely to engage in online communications as their main point of communication with their colleagues and managers. When running an in-house meeting or workshop, it can be tempting to wade right into the deep water and get started with the focus of the session. Missing out on a check-in or warm-up can mean that your team hasn’t completely arrived mentally to the session and aren’t ready to participate as well as they could. The key is to know whether the reason you are frustrated or triggered is personal or not.
Always check back with the group
So is having catering arranged in order to ensure food and drinks are available during breaks, and having the right workshop equipment at hand. This can be easy to overlook, but ensuring you get this right is part of facilitation best practices. Missing a vital piece of equipment can be frustrating or stressful and make group facilitation more difficult. This is a detailed outline of what will happen in your session, including the timings, topics, activities, and roles. You need to ensure that your agenda is aligned with your purpose, objectives, and stakeholders’ needs and interests. You also need to ensure that your agenda is realistic, flexible, and adaptable, as you may need to adjust it depending on the situation and the feedback from your participants.
Team facilitation plays a crucial role in optimizing a team’s performance and achieving desired outcomes. Facilitators with significant facilitation experience are equipped with a repertoire of different techniques to effectively guide and support teams. With the rise of remote work and virtual meetings, facilitators must also be proficient in virtual facilitation techniques.
Close the meeting
Everyone on your team has a unique and valuable perspective that you should not only listen to but aim to empathize with. It will improve your people management skills and lead to a healthier, more productive team. As a manager, you often have an outcome or goal in mind when leading a team activity and want your team to reach the conclusion as swiftly as possible. Every meeting, workshop or training session takes up time that would agile team facilitation otherwise be spent working, and so ensuring that meetings are time effective is an important aspect of team management. The one-day course covers facilitation principles, the role of Scrum Values in enhancing collaboration, and the use of facilitation skills to address common Scrum challenges. You will be guided through Scrum-related scenarios, applying several facilitation techniques to broaden your Agile practices toolkit.
- For facilitators, this means knowing the problem you want to solve and designing a process to help a team of people find a solution to that problem.
- Be prepared to recommend an alternate agenda, dropping some items if necessary.
- Team facilitation is a skill that helps you guide, support, and empower your team members to achieve their goals, collaborate effectively, and overcome challenges.
- By seeking feedback and incorporating it into the agenda, the facilitator ensures that the meeting aligns with the desired outcomes and addresses the specific needs of the group.
- If for any reason you are not content-neutral as a facilitator, you should be clear about this with the group from the beginning.
- Now let’s see what specific skills you will need for the planning process and to help design anything from a training session to a workshop like an expert facilitator.
As a sounding board, the facilitator encourages people to share their perspectives and actively listens to understand the underlying issues contributing to the conflict. Handling conflict is a core element of facilitation, requiring specific skills and techniques to navigate challenging situations. A great facilitator possesses the necessary skills needed to handle conflict effectively, such as active listening, empathy, and the ability to remain impartial. By asking questions, facilitators encourage active engagement and participation from team members, fostering a collaborative and inclusive problem-solving environment. This questioning method serves multiple purposes, such as breaking down complex problems into manageable pieces, gathering diverse input from the team, and evaluating issues from various angles. Sociological questions, in particular, can be valuable tools for facilitators, as they delve into the social dynamics, perspectives, and relationships that impact the problem at hand.
Adapt to change
Having a set of best practices and circulating those ahead of a meeting is great, but don’t stop there. Not only will your team follow your example, but this also helps build a sense of trust that can be so important in building a happy and productive team. No team manager is smarter than all of their team working together, and by including and empowering your team in their work, you can improve ownership and a sense of accomplishment. By better facilitating the members of your team and enabling them in their work, you can then create the space and time to focus on business-critical items and keep everything on track.
At the far left, the trainer comes to a session with both the Process and Content. They bring content expertise, have particular and specific content they must cover, and may test the participants on their understanding of the content. Every Team must have a Team Facilitator, who is often a technical contributor, as well. Engaging the services of an external facilitator can catalyse sharper thinking, better decisions, problem-solving and more creativity in your team. Above all, whatever the context, they will ensure that your team is centred upon what upon what matters most. The team facilitator may do this through sharing what they are observing about the team process.
How to highlight facilitation skills
This blog post provides insights into these essentials while shedding light on how our Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills™ course can aid your Agile journey. A basic condition for an effective conversation is that people feel they are being heard and listened to. Active listening is one of your best group facilitation skills and it is often the foundation for a productive discussion. Part of the facilitator’s role is to guide the group in timely conversations and decisions and stay focused throughout. It is important that you are aware of the passing time during a meeting and that you let participants know when time is running short for an activity.