Own Your Meetings
By Chris Obst
If I were to ask your direct reports about your meetings, what would they say?
A lot of managers struggle with leading effective, powerful meetings. And a lot of people, including managers, hate meetings full stop.
People REALLY hate meetings because they rarely see the benefit of the time and energy spent.
How often do you think your direct reports see a substantial connection between meetings and actions?
If your people are getting frustrated because they perceive an imbalance between the amount of energy spent in meetings, and the value of the results, I hope you will do two things:
In practical terms, here's what that means:
- Lead meetings that lead to action, and deeper engagement.
- Lead your meetings like you lead your team.
First, start from a place of respect. Set a clear agenda. Start on time. End on time. Make sure everyone that is there knows what they are there to do and give them an opportunity to do it.
Don't let meetings go longer than 90 minutes without a recovery break. A quick break to refuel, move and stretch will move the meeting along faster than not having a break
Do provide high performance snacks and water in the meeting room to replenish energy. Toss out the donuts. Don't let phsycial disengagement be the barrier to engaged conversation.
Don't EVER meet for the sake meeting. It is a waste of everyone's time, and indicates disrespect. Always put a clear goal on the table.
Don't hog the floor. Good managers don't dominate. Engage your staff by encouraging them to: speak up, participate and lead discussions.
But don't lose control of the floor either. Meetings are an opportunity for rich discussion.If someone is dominating, or sabotaging things with their own agenda, it is up to you to bring the goal of the meeting back into focus, and move your team forward.
Be honest and direct. As a manager, you set the tone in your meetings and in your corporate culture. If your team trusts you to do the real deal in the meeting, they'll stop whispering about their issues in the backroom, and start laying them down on the table.
Call people out, and if they turn around and call you out, take a breath, and enjoy the fact that they've learned by your good example. (If you say one thing in a meeting, then walk out the door and do something else, you're leading by dysfunctional example.)
Make sure action is taken. Planning a meeting includes planning to follow up. It is up to you to ensure action is taken and results are communicated.
Leave them wanting more. Effective meetings are exciting. Inspire yourself and your team so that everyone looks forward to participating in the next meeting.
FYI: You may occasionally have to attend lousy meetings, but you absolutely do not have to lead them.
If you haven't before, swear to yourself that as of today, you run meetings that people leave energized and ready for action.
View other articles in July 08 Issue
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