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how to master the new normal

Virtual Leadership Development: how to master the new normal

31 EpisodesProduced by Philip Botha, Bernhard ZimmermannWebsite

In the series we share our experience and expertise as coaches and facilitators, focusing on leadership and leadership development in virtual or online contexts. We explore not only the inherent challenges we face in these environments but importantly, how to address these challenges yourself. Wheth… read more


29 How to leverage Interpersonal Skills: Supporting

What does supporting mean as an interpersonal skill in Virtual Collaboration? How well do your team members support each other in your virtual meetings? This is the topic of our conversation in episode 29 of our Virtual Leadership Development series.

As we’ve said previously, we enjoy working with Human Synergistics’ Survival Simulation - Team Building series. In our experience, their Problem Solving model is great not only for solving problems but also in helping us improve how we communicate and collaborate in virtual sessions. In this episode we focus on the second skill - supporting - of four interpersonal skills: listening, supporting, differing and participating, to create greater acceptance.

How do we support others in a way that everyone is able to engage with each other equally in a conversation? So often meetings are dominated by one or more participants while others contribute little. Effectively, this robs the team of valuable contributions that may have led to more diversity and better solutions. A principle of supporting from our perspective is that as leaders or facilitators of a session we need to take responsibility to create a space where everyone is able to contribute equally and support each other to do so.

So what are examples of what wouldn’t like to see in a virtual session?

Participants focusing on what is wrong with an idea. To focus on what’s at fault with an idea, or find problems with it, is very seldom motivating. The less interest we have in what others say while defending our own opinion, the less we are able to connect and engage.

Conversely, if we apply Supporting, what should we be able to observe?

We would see participants acknowledge what ‘works’ in others' ideas and find the positive aspects to help make them even better for everyone. Help others to express their ideas fully by being curious and creating a space where they feel empowered to contribute fully. Often a great contribution to a conversation could be a simple question, like 'what does that mean for you?' or 'tell me more?'

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