Scenario: Body Language

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation:

Several team members are sitting with their arms folded across their chest.

 

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning

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Comments (8)

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    dextercheng

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    As an Action Learning Coach, I would observe for a while; if the same body language continue, I would draw the group’s attention about what happen i.e. that several members are sitting with their arms folded across their chest. I will ask them how would they interpret that scenario, and would they want to do explore on what has happened or just to continue.

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    donna

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    This calls for more observation. Is the room cool/cold? It could be a reaction to the room temp–I am someone who is always cold! What other behaviors am I observing? Is the body language reflecting an attitude? Are the responses clipped or are these participants silent? If the body language is indicative of an obvious attitude–then I would observe that for the group. Ask what might it indicate? Does anyone want to ask a question of these participants?

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    Eduardo

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    I would ask the participants to give a score from 1 to 10 to how confortable do they feel in that meeting to test if that body language was noticed by someone else. Probably someone would give a low score. Then I would ask, what are the consequence of feel inconfortable to create a deep reflection. At end I do ask, what could we do to create an confortable meeting to make then decide what woul.

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    ramgopalan

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    There could be many factors that might lead to team members being seated with arms folded across their chest. Without making any assumptions, I would go with a standard 1st level intervention, “How are we doing?”

    If the folks with the arms folded respond with “Not OKs” then it will lead to discussions on what’s working and not working

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    Adam Smith

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    There isn’t enough information in this scenario to justify an intervention. In every Action Learning session, I am constantly taking readings of each participant, monitoring group process, looking for patterns or behaviors that could negatively affect learning and successful outcomes, and if the participants are demonstrating the leadership behaviors that they identified prior to the start of the session. I would continue to observe, and if the group was progressing in their work, I might just let them run and see what happens, or address it at a natural stopping point.

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    christan

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    I agree with all the comments above. It will be too premature to intervene at this point. I will have to watch how the discussion unfolds. If during the discussion, the participation level is not good, I will then intervene to ask what the team thinks of the participation level. I will also ask what is the comfort level in the room. What is the impact if the situation remains and what we can do to improve the situation.

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    Johnamos

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    I will not intervene immediately and observe further because there could be some other hidden reasons than being negative or defensive towards the session. Personally i have experienced team members who are showing indifferent body language yet they are involved in the session.

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    DrBea

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    Great responses! This is some what of a trick question. It’s imperative that what I am calling attention to is true for the team and not just my ‘stuff’.

    I’ve been called out for being closed because my arms are crossed when in reality I am chilly. Being called out like that is a sure fire way to insure I will shut down.

    I would do a standard check in and see if anything came up from the team –
    How are we doing on a scale of 1 to 10?
    What are we doing well?
    What can we do better?

    Happy coaching
    Bea

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