Developing Self-directed Information Seekers

Doers tend to validate what they have either seen for themselves or have heard first hand from a trustworthy person. This helps them to form a mental image of what action they should take as a result of what they have seen and heard. Whoever said, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” understood this concept very well.

It is important, then, for a leader to put his or her vision out there in a consistent form so the Doers can think as one mind, speak as one voice, and perform as one body.

Although such a valuable and informative process is not likely to happen naturally, it can be established with a little effort. Begin by scheduling a place and time to share information with your followers. Assign one of the Doers to serve as the “facilitator” to help guide the process. Once your followers get used to this new style of meeting they will establish their own format. Providing a list of behavioral guidelines like those below demonstrates how serious you are about making meetings more productive.

Create an agenda and stick to it.

  • Do not bring up unrelated issues.
  • Talk about one issue at a time.
  • Fully explore each item before moving on.

Share only what you know first hand.

  • Be truthful about what happened.
  • Avoid faultfinding and blame seeking.
  • Uncover all the facts before deciding.

Listen to all ideas, thoughts, and recommendations.

  • Resist speaking against or in support of suggestions.
  • Refrain from using gestures or verbal clues to express your concerns.
  • Do not try to explain one person’s thoughts to another.

Avoid aligning yourself in advance.

  • Be open to all outcomes and possibilities during the meeting.
  • Leave your personal agenda outside until after the meeting.
  • Do not lobby others to support your position before, during or after the meeting.

Provide explanations as often as requested.

  • Encourage comments, questions, and clarifications.
  • Look for the best in whatever is said.
  • Ask for examples of how things might work.

Encourage silent members to provide input.

  • Pay attention to each person as they speak.
  • Observe a short pause after each speaker is finished.
  • Repeat what has been said to let others know they were heard.

Avoid side comments and conversations.

  • Do not interrupt the person talking.
  • Take frequent breaks to keep everyone fresh.
  • Restrict outside telephone calls and messages.

Don’t suggest changing the process once it’s begun.

  • If the process is not working, look to the participants for solutions.
  • Ask others how they feel about the way things are going.
  • Discuss why you feel the process is not achieving its purpose.

Setting aside time for Doers to interact in a structured atmosphere greatly enhances the acceptance and implementation of team building, joint decision-making, group problem solving, and interpersonal conflict resolution.

The biggest payoff will come from the underachievers who no longer feel the need to spread false information or feed the rumor mill with their personal concerns. Soon, they will become self-directed information seekers who share critical issues with each other and more importantly with their leader.

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