On Getting It out in the Open

Hey Change Agent!

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

– The Great Brene Brown


I recently did a session with a team and their new senior leader that involved a whole lot of questions and some really revealing answers. I love it when a team and leader are willing to be open, curious and vulnerable with one another.

I conducted my own adaptation of a process referred to as “New Leader Assimilation.”

The process involved some advance curating of questions from the team for the leader and culminated in a 2-hour session as a group.

The Purpose

To open communication channels for new or existing leadership and their staff. It helps to answer the questions that might otherwise take longer to figure out and creates a different kind of opportunity for building individual and team relationships. It also facilitates greater clarity and a permission to ask for what each party needs.

The Questions

The team was asked to answer the following questions, together, to share with the leader:

  • What does our new leader need to know about us as a team?
  • What are our expectations of the new leader?
  • What advice would you offer her as she begins her new role?
  • What are the key issues and challenges you believe need to be addressed in the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year?
  • What do you believe your team needs to STOP doing, START doing and CONTINUE doing?
  • And what else comes to mind?

The leader received a list of 20 questions from the team and used her time, after their presentation, to answer them fully and allow additional dialogue where needed.

Some of my favorites included:

  • U of K or U of L (If you’re not from around here, that may not make much sense to you, but in Kentucky, this is a big question for a new member of a team! LOL)
  • What excites you the most about taking on this new role?
  • How do you plan to elevate this department?
  • How do you handle conflict and/or disagreements?
  • What’s your expectation around communication during and after business hours?
  • How do you want to receive feedback and/or support from us during your transition as a new leader here?
  • What’s your risk tolerance?
  • How do you make decisions?

The Session

Both the team and the leader were fully present and fully engaged. There was laughter, high energy, hope and some awkward stuff tossed out on the table they were able to deal with that provided MUCH relief and clarity for all. It was done with respect and curiosity and transparency.

At the end of the session, the new leader was able to identify some key priorities and quick wins that would allow their department to tackle some long-held challenges and provide a fresh start. They were giving each other permission to ask for what they need because this is a GREAT time to adopt that as a practice.

The Opportunity

You can do this with your board, your team, your staff right now. No need to wait for a new person to join the team.

  • How could generating some great questions and coming together to answer them help you and your team move forward with greater clarity?
  • What if it’s possible that there are some assumptions floating around that are hampering your efforts to have the kind of impact you need to have?
  • What if it’s possible that it’s time to clear the air and create some new permissions and invitations for people in your midst?

Have you conducted or been a part of something similar? What was your experience?

To learn more about how to create a similar experience for your board or team, leave a comment! I’m happy to talk you through it OR create & deliver it for you!



About Whitney Bishop

Whitney Bishop is a Change Agent who creates transformative experiences for leaders who are committed to making a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. She has designed a proven process to help leaders and their teams elevate their questions, create new possibilities and take deliberate action. Are you ready to discover the power of possibility and experience breakthroughs that will help you have greater impact and influence in the world? Let’s talk.