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ASK, NOT TELL

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Trainer-Participant Relationship – Intended Conflict

Updated: Mar 5

A new thought from a 3-day management course which I am conducting this week.

There was a team-problem solving activity which requires the whole-team participation in order to be accomplished. One of the intended learning point is that team performance will be affected if some do not participate. And some did leave from time to time to answer phone call.  As a result, their team did take longer time to solve the problem.


During the debrief, I was thinking on foot whether I should bring this up. If I bring this up, it is like putting spotlight on those who have left for phone calls. This could be embarrassing to them. I chose to do it at the end. I asked the affected teams what hindered them to complete more quickly. Through this, I highlighted that in real life, behaviors like answering phone calls during teamwork will also affect the performance. This problem sounds basic but it did happen – as showed in the activity.


I know those who were on the phone may not like this discussion. In some senses, I asked for conflict with the participants. Interestingly it seems contrary to my previous sharing that trainers should stay understanding and maintain good relationship with the floor.

I do believe that sometimes trainers should bring up possibly-unpopular discussion if it is for the sake of learning.  In fact, unpleasant conflict may even be better.  It makes people memorize better.  As some said, trainers (should more be facilitators this case) are the mirrors to reflect the participants’ own behaviors to themselves. Our responsibility to make them think, to question their own choices.


This is even though you will face the cost of lower L1 score. What do you think?

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