13 Jan Energy Flow: The Importance of Modeling Success in Group Settings
Recently, at a training I ran with a group of leaders, I was told ahead of time that a few people were going to be coming in late due to prior commitments. While typically not a big deal, this quickly became an issue for this group. The entrance door must have been attached to a dying duck, based on the noise it was making!
Each time the door opened and closed, it would create such a loud noise that all the participants would turn their heads to see who was entering. Even the executive leadership team, who already knew that it was just going to be another latecomer, would turn to look. For the rest of the group, watching the leadership team further normalized the action of turning to check the door. It signaled that it was okay to pause the training for this reason.
Where the energy flows, the attention goes.
The leadership team was feeling energy towards the door. So all the attention in the room was then channeled towards the door, and away from the training. We can’t always control what happens in our environment, such as having a squeaky door. We can control how we react to it, however, and model better behavior for the rest of the group.
When we work with larger groups, sometimes we’ll leverage the support of Team Leaders. They can help with the smaller group facilitation when we break out in teams. I will hype up these Team Leaders to the group as being my peers and equally as valuable as having me as a team leader. Putting the Team Leaders in an leadership position in the eyes of the participants helps in facilitation, but it also gives these leaders responsibility. Now, every action they do, or don’t do, will give the participants clues as to how they should act. I tell my Team Leaders that they have to model success as much as possible, because the participants will constantly be looking at them for cues. Here’s a list of some of the many ways someone can commit to modeling success:
- Sit towards the front of the room instead of the back.
- Don’t use your phone when you aren’t supposed to.
- Raise your hand to answer questions.
- Participate in activities.
- Take notes if someone is talking.
- Don’t engage in disruptive side chatter.
How someone should act in a certain situation is largely determined by how the leadership of the group acts. Take the time to train yourself, and your leadership team, on how they can best be modeling success.