CIRCOM Regional Webinar
2-3 November 2020 and 5-6 November 2020, 09:30 – 14:30 (CET)
Taking place across two half days, the workshop run twice during the week 2nd - 6th November.

Leading people in an editorial environment is tough at the best of times. Leading people whilst working from home without day-to-day contact with your team is challenging on another level. 

It was in this context that this year’s CIRCOM leadership training took place, for the first time, via Zoom. Two groups of 6 delegates came together to discuss how their own leadership style affects how well their teams perform. 

Senior journalists from Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Finland, Hungary and the UK focused on 3 main themes; the importance of setting clear expectations for your team, how to give regular feedback through honest conversations and how to develop a leadership style that empowers others. 

Sharing some of the challenges of leading teams is one of the most powerful parts of coming together to train. And it quickly became clear that we experience similar problems; motivating staff, having enough time to give feedback, needing the backing of our more senior bosses, working without clear goals and worrying about someone’s reaction if we speak honestly to them. 

And particularly during the pandemic, it became clear leaders need to offer far more support to teams than usual. But this has its own risks. Some participants recognised they’d slipped into being the ‘Parent/Leader’, the person who everyone comes to, to sort everything out. But this can disempower team members and they can sub-consciously slide into a child-parent relationship with the boss. 

So much of the discussion was around how to bring them back to the ‘adult-adult’ mindset by the way we interact with them. It’s about the quality of our conversations; the open questions we use and the active listening we demonstrate. It’s about giving others psychological ownership of the issue, so they think through how to solve it and move forward for themselves. It’s a recognition that as the leader you don’t have to have all the answers. But you do need to know what questions to ask. And if you can understand your own style of leadership and become more coaching in the way you interact with people, not only can you empower your team but motivate them as well. 

Sharing our challenges also means we can share solutions. The training ended with each person identifying what they will do differently in their leadership as a result of the training. From setting up regular 1-2-1 meetings with team members to developing 6-point frameworks to give clarity or committing to having that difficult conversation with someone. Small steps bring about change.


Feedback from participants

What is your overall impression of the 3-day course?
• This was really inspiring training to me. I found out that we are facing many of the same problems even if we are far away from one another and the cultures of our countries are in a way different. I’m really glad to be given the chance to participate in it.
• Inspiring, motivating and extremely useful. Mia immediately created a safe space and made me feel very at ease. I really liked the handout and wasy to use guides. Very simply laid out which is helpful.
• Very useful. Theoretically and practically.
• Excellent workshop, super Mia  and very useful for me in my work. Thank you very much for this opportunity!
• Very useful and clear. Has given me lots of tools to deal with situations that might arise in the future.
• It was very helpful and empowering
• Clear, straightforward and constructive.
• Wonderful experience and the joy of sharing your experience. Interesting to see how different countries have particular situations, but also that there are many things in common.
• It was pretty useful, interesting
• Excellent

Which session or subject made the most impact on you?
• The most helpful to me is that I’ll struggle no more with that feeling that something’s wrong with me, when sometimes I realise that my leading style does not provide the impact which I want it to. Now I will be free to change the style depending on the character of the person who I have conversations with.
• To think more about my own leadership style and to have the space to realise that I need to dial down affiliative style and dial up the visionary and commanding styles.
• Finding out about the COIN strategy
• The practical one, because throughout you discover what is actually your position in the whole situation. It is an opportunity to mirror yourself.
• Hands-on training of difficult conversations
• Identifying what a good leader is and what sort of leader I want to be and giving me ideas of how to action that.
• The practical exercises
• The interactive part was helpful despite the English language issues, not always perfect!
• Practical advice
• I think the practical part was the most helpful for myself
• When we tried to use in practice what we’ve learned.

What might you do differently as a result of attending the training?

• I’ll start to interact with more and more people in my organisation even if I was thinking that it wasn’t my job to do so. I’ll wait no more for one of my managers to deal with them.
• Set up some frameworks which will give more clarity to people.
• Change my behaviour and be more efficient in approaching the team.
• First of all, realise what leadership really means and then implement different styles depending on different tasks and situations you are facing with. Do some small steps to show that we are going to grow together and, in the meantime, learn more and think about concrete steps afterwards.
• Handle difficult conversations with more confidence, change the way I think about leadership.
• I won’t shy away from difficult conversations. I will prepare for them using COIN but also I will introduce more regular scheduled feedback for my team.
• Have difficult COIN conversations
• To look at employees differently, to find solutions before finding punishments.
• I will apply what I have learnt
• I will try to change my communication style and try to use the different tools of leadership more efficiently.

How was the experience of training on Zoom? (Your ability to speak up, the duration of sessions, breaks etc)
• Actually, it was my first session on Zoom and I’m more than pleased with the abilities of the platform to have these working meetings. It was easy for us as attendants to chat, to ask questions and to get answers. The duration of the sessions was adequate and the breaks were planned pretty well.
• It went really quickly and was engaging throughout. I sometimes feel zoom is really draining, but the way it was handled seemed better as the mixture of practical v listening was intermixed perfectly.
• Perfect combination of everything. Thank you so much for that experience and for your knowledge.
• We had some difficulties with failing internet connections but all in all it didn’t cause any major problems. This was planned very well, and everyone was able to participate from home. Mia did an excellent job at this!
• It was tiring but breaks were adequate and there was enough interaction not to make it boring. Very engaging and felt like everybody listened to one and another
• While it was long, Mia was great at pacing breaks to accommodate the needs of the two time zones. People were given ample and timely opportunities to speak up.
• I had no specific expectations. I was really sceptical. Mia was fantastic and persuasive, and the atmosphere created was friendly. I regret the many technical problems I had that distracted me. But I never gave up and that’s a lesson.
• Perfect
• It was good, effective, we had enough time to rest but not too much.
• It was a very pleasant experience.