Let’s say you are a new leader, with people reporting to you now… or… you have been a leader for a while, but inherited a new team. Either way, you know you probably should hold team meetings on a somewhat regular basis, right? RIGHT!
But why, exactly? I mean, most meetings you have been in (team meetings or otherwise) have been pointless, redundant, or ineffective, right? Probably also right. <siiiiighh>
Why do meetings get such a bad rap? We just say the word, and people cringe. In fact, I would guess that most of your schedule is packed with meetings, right? Interesting!
The key to effective meetings is to be purposeful and deliberate.
We will talk about overall meetings, or general business meetings, in a future post (good article here if you’re interested). But for now, I would like to focus on the first meeting you should focus on: your team meeting.
This meeting should be the best meeting you hold! It should be a highlight and a help to you in your work as a leader. First step: take control! You own it! Drive it! Make it an exception to the “pointless meeting” stereotype!
The purpose of a regular team meeting should be to a) build trust, b) connect people, and c) make progress on the work (a and b will help accomplish c. I promise).
First and foremost – find a time, place, and frequency that works for the team. Be open to ideas, incorporate them into your plan. THEN, respect what’s been decided! Honor the start & end time of the meeting. Try your very best not to cancel (and if you do, give an honest explanation, and re-schedule shortly thereafter).
Remember: a meeting that runs long, gets cancelled frequently, or moves often, will quickly lose effectiveness and erode trust.
What is the purpose of this meeting? What are you trying to accomplish? I have given my three purposes above… find the best purpose for your team! If you are stumped, ASK! Your team members really want to have an effective meeting, I can guarantee. Come up with the purpose together, then stick to it!
Remember: losing sight of the purpose of the meeting will diminish the effectiveness of your meeting. Team members will start to dread it. It is important this meeting not turn “aimless” – either without purpose, or sidetracked entirely.
Perhaps the single biggest threat to meetings is there is no credibility (meaning: accountability). No follow up from meeting to meeting; assignments are missed, questions are left unanswered, requests left unattended.
If you set up a good cadence then state a clear purpose, it is important to maintain the credibility of the meeting by taking notes, following up on ‘action items’ and demonstrating there is continuity from meeting to meeting.
Remember: losing credibility (the meeting, or the leader) will quickly erode trust.
If team members feel like they are making progress by attending these meetings (both personally and as a team), they will come. These meetings can be a fun part of your job – a chance to connect, make headway on work being done, and even relax a little bit as you get to know your team members better.
What about you – what helps your team meetings? Please share!