High performance leadership teams understand the value of creating soft and hard space, particularly in their leadership meetings. This means developing an empathetic (soft) atmosphere where executives can bring their fears, concerns and aspirations into the team space. This comes through intentional listening, good questions and looking at issues from different points of view. It’s vital to get real issues discussed and managed in the executive team, rather than trying to camouflage them from your colleagues.
Listen carefully in your next leadership meeting. To what degree do people share what they are struggling with; or express concerns about strategic or people issues in this meeting?
If people are only showing their best side and real discussions are being replaced with business updates from the team members, the team is missing “soft space opportunities”.
You can encourage soft space in your leadership meeting by asking people to share what they are really challenged with, followed by discussions that don’t judge or condemn people for sharing their challenges.
Effective leadership teams balance this soft space with hard space. This hard space can also be called the integrity space. This is the space where team members put tough issues on the table, even when it could impact their own functional negatively but know it’s better for the overall business. Hard space means not only accepting executive decisions but also following through on them. It means holding each other accountable for behaviors you’ve agreed on.
How’s the balance of hard and soft space in your leadership meetings that enables your team to play at it’s best?
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