Leadership, Part III: Working In The Team Environment

Toastmasters Success/Leadership Workshop on Teams

Rose Sloat presented the Success/Leadership workshop Working in the Team Environment.

Rose Sloat, DTM

Last week, I attended a workshop that’s new to me:  Working in the Team Environment.  Thanks to Rose Sloat, DTM, for the invitation and a really  interesting presentation.  Rose does this kind of work professionally, and I’m glad I got to see her in action.  Rose said she picked this workshop because she is currently covering much of the same material in sessions with one of her clients.  Smart choice on her part.  She’s playing to her strengths.

Leadership, Part III – well, that’s right.  I felt like I had walked into the middle of a leadership seminar where “now we’re going to talk about teams.”  This disconnectedness lasted for a while in the workshop because I didn’t get context.  Rose has a lot of experience covering this material, and I don’t think the problem is her presentation.  The workbook starts with “Working in the Team Environment” without addressing the value of a team vs. authoritarian structure.

The comparison comes later – and it’s a bit skewed toward the team mindset.  Ok, that’s the topic of the workshop and so I guess it should, but again, I’m not with the program yet.

Rose used Toastmaster templates for her slides, which essentially covered the same material as was in the book, but she’s a pro.  The slides weren’t too awful and gave a decent outline of the material she was covering.  I liked how she took those points and brought her own expertise to the presentation.

Acme Company – our team loved that.

Leadership Workshop uses Acme Company. You know we had to use roadrunners in our discussion.

Acme Company is always able to stock what Wile E Coyote needs.
Picture from http://www.animationartwork.com/artwork/imagery/l.sku2380.jpg

There are two exercises in this workshop in the participants’ manuals.  The first is to encourage commitment by involving the team members in goal setting, planning how to achieve the goals, and problem solving.  There were two scenarios we could pick to discuss – one focused on Toastmasters, and the other on Acme Company.  (You know we had to reference roadrunners and coyotes in our discussion, right?)

This was my biggest problem with the workshop:  We were asked,

Why is it in your best interest to commit to your team and its goal?  List the reasons below.

If the plan was for me to work with the others on my scenario, that question didn’t really work for me.  The answer is pretty simple:  to keep my job.

But if the question had been, “What should your team do to achieve the company’s goal?” we would have demonstrated to ourselves why working with a team would be effective.  Rose told me later that there are several other exercises in the coordinator’s manual that she could have used, but because this was in the participants’ manuals, she went with it.

The second exercise was supposed to be on resolving conflict.  I found it an excellent scenario – to talk about moral issues.  Business issues.  We decided to replace the parts and communicate frequently with Wile E… er… our customer about the issue.  I really liked the question for the moral aspect; it appealed to the debater in me.  Because we didn’t really have a stake in the problem facing Acme Company, it was very easy for us to say what we’d do.

All in all, I think the Working in the Team Environment is probably a good introduction to team building.  Much of what is covered is pretty much common sense, not a lot of depth or analysis.  I’d call it a good introductory session.  It did inspire our Division Governor Laura Dressler to decide to create a team for the winter TLI make up session for our division.

Rose did a great job.  I think she brought more to the presentation that the workbook outlined, which was a huge plus for us.  I found myself taking a lot of notes about encouraging commitment – lots more than was covered in manuals.  That’s what happens when you get a professional who knows her stuff to teach.  I asked her, as a professional trainer, how she felt it presented the material and if she thought it covered it well.  She said for the time constraints, it was very good.

One last note:  this was the final task for Rose to complete her second DTM award.  Congratulations, Rose!

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