To lead effectively you must master the art of using realistic and constructive debriefing skills.  This needs to be a balanced process, one that neither glosses over weaknesses and mistakes nor ends up focusing on these and overlooking what went well.  Neither extreme will lead to effective and constructive debriefing.

Here are 20 questions to help you run a debriefing session with your team or an individual:

  1. What was the background to the situation?
  2. What happened? Talk it through or write it down exactly
  3. How did you prepare?
  4. What did you do and what did others do?
  5. What decisions did you make?
  6. What led you to make certain decisions or take particular actions?
  7. What factors did you take into account?
  8. What were the consequences of your actions or decisions?
  9. What went well? What were you particularly pleased with – this can include how you redeemed situations that were going wrong!
  10. What barriers were there?
  11. How can we fix the barriers for the future?
  12. How did this project make you feel?
  13. What would you do the same another time?
  14. How did you react and respond to situations?
  15. What would you do differently? Consider.
  16. How might you prepare in the future?
  17. What actions might you take and decisions might you make in the future?
  18. How might you react and respond to such a situation in the future?
  19. What do you think someone else would have done in your shoes? Maybe you could think about a colleague, manager or mentor.
  20. What words of advice can you give yourself, either from your own wise self, or from a respected mentor?

You will find that some questions are more useful to you than others; it is about personal taste and your team dynamic.

Sometimes it can be beneficial to change the questions you ask to ensure that you are not avoiding questions that perhaps challenge you personally as leader.

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