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Team Facilitation: The Core Skill of Great Team Leaders

A guide to the skills of leading teams, communication and decision-making.
Lawrence M. Miller
2,475 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
1. To gain an understanding of the essential skills and behavior of effective team leaders.
2. To practice those behaviors that lead to optimum participation and commitment to action by team members.
3. To learn the critical listening skills that are essential to all personal communications and to team leadership.
4. To understand when and how to use each of three decision-making styles: command, consultative and consensus.
5. To learn how to both give and receive feedback, or “straight-talk”, in a manner that leads of learning and continuous improvement.
6. To learn the critical skills of effective leading virtual teams to effective performance.

If you are an entrepreneur, a manager wanting to move up in responsibility, or someone who simply wants to work well with others, this course provides the essential skills of leading teams. You cannot succeed today without the skills of leading groups well.

The instructor has been developing teams and team leaders, from the CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, to front line teams in manufacturing plants, for the past forty years. He is the author of ten books on teams, leadership and lean management. He has worked with Honda and Toyota, Shell Oil Company, American Express and dozens of other corporations as well as small start ups. He has been the CEO of a consulting firm for twenty five years. In other words, he has a great deal of experience in team leadership and facilitation.

This course provides all of the essential skills of creating unity of energy and effort on a team; bring the team to consensus; and conducting virtual team meetings.

This course provides the knowledge and skills that will be essential to your capability as a leader.


Introduction to Team Facilitation

This lecture is an introduction to this course. I review the purpose, objectives and outline.

Please be sure to take a look at the attachment. This document has a lot of information, particularly for team coaches. It defines the role and competencies of team coaches, key skills, a behavior contract between coach and client, and other helpful forms.

Course Purpose:

  • To lead teams effectively
  • Eliminate waste from meetings
  • Create unity of energy and effort
  • Make effective decisions
  • Action, action, action.
What is Facilitation?

This lecture is not a comprehensive definition of facilitation (the entire course does that), but it does point to some particularly important attitudes and sensitivities that are at the heart of facilitation.

Please download the look that the attached file. This is one third of my Team Kata book - all the chapters dealing with facilitation skills, decision making, etc. This should be considered a companion book to this course.

To Facilitate:

§…is to enable others, all, to make their contribution.

§…is to be aware of one’s own behavior and how it affects the behavior of others.

§…is to be sensitive to the diverse needs of individuals and to value their contribution.

The Eight Essential Facilitation Skills

The Skills of Organizing and Clarifying
Motivating, Comforting & Controlling


  • Being “attentive” to the person speaking. Eye contact, nodding your head in approval.
  • “That’s a very good point.”
  • “I know this is a difficult topic, but I feel like we have made good progress.”
  • “Harold, I think you probably have some good insights on this subject.”


  • Expressing Empathy:
    • “I can understand that… (the reason for their concern)….may cause you to feel.(a word like ‘worried’, or ‘upset’)”
    • “It must be … (feeling work like “difficult, or painful”)…when … (the circumstance causing the difficulty).
  • Ask for temperature taking: “How are others feeling about this.” “Jane, are you OK with this discussion?”
  • Take a break.

Controlling – Playing the “Cop”

  • Calling “time-out”
  • Call for gaining perspective
  • Call for more data
  • Call for others to participate
Essential Skills 1
Concluding A Topic or Meeting

Keys to Concluding a topic of meeting:

  • The Agenda and Time limits
  • The Skill of Summarizing
  • Asking for Consensus
  • Reviewing Decisions and Gaining Agreement
  • Do Goods – Do Better
  • Next Meeting Agenda
Resolving Conflicts within the Team
Essential Skills 2

How to Choose A Decision Making Style

Clarifying Decision Styles

It is critical that team members know which decisions they make individually, in consultation, and as true consensus decisions. This lecture presents a definition of each style of criteria for choosing which style to use.


  • Command decisions are those made by an individual. Speed and expert knowledge are two reasons for command to be the preferred decision style.

•Consultative or Shared

  • Consultative decisions involve selective involvement by those who know, care, or must act.


  • Consensus decisions are true team decisions where you turn over the decision to the group.
How to Reach Consensus
Decision Making Styles

Effective Listening Skills

Body Language
Asking Open-ended Questions
Expressing Empathy
Reflective Listening
Acknowledging and Using Silence
Effective Listening Skills

Giving and Receiving Feedback - "Straight Talk"

"Straight Talk" - A Model for Giving Feedback
"Straight Talk" - A Model for Receiving Feedback
Giving and Receiving Feedback - "Straight Talk"

Virtual Team Facilitation

Using Virtual Meeting Technology
Pre-work Builds Participation

In virtual meetings it is more important than in face-to-face meetings to have pre-work that can enhance the value of the meeting. Here are some elements of pre-work discussed in this lecture:

1.Agenda: Send meeting agenda

2.Roles: Be clear about roles

3.Objectives: State Objectives clearly

4.Involve as many as possible

5.Be Ready! Be sure PPT’s are ready for uploading in advance.

6.Pre-Post Work: Not 10% Planning, 80% Meeting and 10% Follow-up; more like 25-50-25.

7.Learning: Make it a sharing/learning meeting.

Eleven Tips for Great Meetings

This lectures gives very concrete steps you can take to improve the engagement of team members when conducting virtual meetings:

1.Bring Energy: Make it purposeful

2.Visualize the agenda

3.Visualize notes and decisions

4.Let them know in advance that you will be asking them questions, asking for their participation and feed back.

5.Give responsibility to another person or group to ask questions following a presentation.

6.Ask questions to someone specifically, rather than “Does anyone…?”

7.Share the facilitator role.

8.If not one responds, call on…after 5sec

9.Summarize and visualize decisions.

10.Do goods-do better

11.Immediately send out minutes and backup material.

Virtual Team Facilitation

Summary of Team Facilitation and Communication

Summary and Actions

Course Summary:

  • Recommend a coach
  • How this connects with the other TK courses
    1. Motivating yourself and others
    2. Problem solving made easy
    3. Value-stream mapping and process management
    4. Forming to Performing: Bringing a Team to maturity
  • Team Meeting observation and effectiveness form
  • Go through the exercise of defining decision styles
  • Practice listening skills
  • Take the 11 tips for virtual meetings and introduce them toyour team, evaluate your
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