Can you lead out loud?

leadership Sep 06, 2021

My day job is focused on lifting employees capability to work in a digital world.

There is a lot I love about my role.

One of the things is running workshops using some of the newer ways of working that help us solve problems differently or put customers at the centre of everything we do. However, it’s a little more meta than just running workshops. It’s running workshops and at the same time, teaching others how to run the workshop.

This isn’t teaching how to facilitate with some theory and then practice. It’s about working out loud as I go.

For example, we will run a workshop using Design Thinking so If I’m taking participants through the ideation phase of Design Thinking, I lead them through 3 different ways of brain-storming or ideating. They have fun, come up with lots of ideas, talk them through with each other… and then, I explain the thought process behind the activities.

  • Why did I choose these ways?
  • What do you need to look out for when running this type of session?
  • What other ways could you consider if you are looking for different results?

Taking this approach I’ve found people learn far faster than using either method on it’s own.

If I only take them through the workshop and don’t show them behind the scenes, then they have a great time, see the power of Design Thinking through the outcomes, but don’t have any confidence in running a session of their own.

If I simply take them through the theory, not allowing them to experience it as they go, they won’t have as much buy in to the approach. They won’t know how it feels on the other side, and so will lack empathy as others are going through it.

It’s the same thing with leadership.

When you lead the team through a problem, get to the end first, then circle back and talk through the thinking you used – particularly if there are people in the team that have leadership aspirations.

  • What will help this employee learn the most in this situation?
  • How do you choose when to speak and when to stay silent.
  • Even what you might have done better – both from your perspective and theirs.

This way, those that are looking to lead start to understand through experience and theory at the same time.

What do you think?

Can you start working out loud with your team?

Are you a quietly determined career woman looking to get to your first, or next level leadership role?

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