Sample Agenda- Inward Leadership

Take a look at the Inward Leadership Overview.

Sample Agenda: Inward Leadership

  • Time Needed: 120 minutes
  • Purpose: For participants to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses as a leader
  • Materials: Paper and pen for taking notes

Session Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Welcome to the session
  • Location of the bathrooms
  • Nearest emergency/fire exit
  • Overview of agenda
  • Goals for the session

Select your opening prompt

Here are some prompts that may be successfully used for those developing inward leadership.

Choose one:

  • What are my strengths and what are my weaknesses?
  • What holds me back and what supports me?
  • Where am I now and where do I want to be in the future?
  • What do I look like as a leader?
  • What do I contribute as a leader?
  • How do I want to be seen (or perceived)?

Starting the Conversation (17 minutes)

  • 2 minutes for instruction
    5 minutes for creating images
    10 minutes for sharing

Ask participants to quickly go through their image sets to fi nd pictures that speak to the opening prompt:

  • What do I contribute as a leader? (or alternative selection)

There are no rules about how participants can go about this part of the process. They can select as few or as many photos as they wish, and assemble them any way they wish on the sheet of paper in front of them. The only limitation is time; they should finish selecting and arranging their images within five minutes.

Use the next ten minutes to have participants share a brief story of their images. Ask them to listen carefully to each person’s response and notice the similarities and differences between group members. The amount of time each participant has to share their story will vary with the size of the group and your time constraints.

As participants are sharing their stories, ask clarifying questions if they are needed. Although you can do this yourself, it is often better in a leadership development context to explain the types of questions that participants are welcome to ask of each other and encourage them to become active questioners.

Some example clarifying questions include:

  • Can you tell me more?
  • What would be another example?
  • Is this what you mean? (then restate in your own words)

Deepening the Conversation (15 minutes)

Ask participants to begin to discuss what they have heard from each other.

Some deepening questions include:

  • What else might this mean?
  • What questions does this raise?
  • What else does this remind you of?
  • What’s the possible impact?

Narrowing the Conversation (20 minutes)

In small groups of 3-4, ask participants to brainstorm ways and situations in which some of the strengths shared can also be weaknesses. What if each strength was taken to its extreme? What if the strength became someone’s only way of operating? Are there circumstances when exploiting that strength would be inappropriate? After each group is finished, use an additive sharing process to generate a combined list.

Assessing the Conversation (11 minutes)

At this point, it is time to find out what people’s thoughts are after having worked through the concepts together. How did they experience the activities? Was it difficult to determine the differences between what was essential and what was not?

Appropriate assessing questions include:

  • Did we surface new questions that need to be asked? (Note: this assessment question can lead to a new deepening of the conversation about ways to mitigate weaknesses and balance strengths.)
  • What implication does this have?
  • What choice can I make today that will impact the future?

Applying the Conversation (22 minutes)

Ask participants to discuss how they might apply this information going forward.

Try questions such as:

  • How can we apply what we discovered to our workdays?
  • What might we do to effectively leverage your strengths as leaders?

Debriefing the Conversation (15 minutes)

The debriefing section is where you help the group pull together everything they have done. It is a critical step and worth every minute invested.

Some debriefing questions include:

  • Did you notice any patterns or trends?
  • Does this remind you of anything in other parts of your life/work?
  • What are you taking away?

Closing (5 minutes)

At the end of the session, provide guidance to the participants about how to carry the work forward after the session.

Developing Great Leaders is also available in a printed version.