What is the point of weekly meetings at work? Many of us ask that very same question weekly as we prepare to attend or lead weekly department meetings, personnel meetings, group meetings, board meetings, etc. But, why do we meet every week? Ineffective (or un-needed meetings) get (1) zero accomplished, (2) result in anger and frustration amongst members of the organization, and (3) cause a negative ripple effect throughout the workplace because emotions are contagious. In fact, bad meetings lead to bad decisions while good meetings lead to teamwork and productivity. It is the leader’s job to make sure that meetings have purpose and are productive.
So, what is a good meeting? A good meeting tends to be one in which everyone understands the purpose of the meeting, there is a clear process for getting to that purpose, there is involvement and empowerment of others, and the meeting is well-run and punctual. Leaders must take charge of meetings and make sure that the meeting has a purpose and stays focused on that purpose. All meetings should be focused on the vision/mission of the company and should not stray from the purpose of getting people together.
What can a leader do to ensure that meetings have purpose and are productive? First, leaders must participate in some pre-meeting planning. Why meet? The leader must ask whether the purpose of the meeting is to: share information, involve others in decisions, provide clarification, address group needs/wants, solve new problems, or motivate/energize the team.
Once the purpose of the meeting has been established, the leader must set the agenda. The agenda should contain: (1) date, location, starting and ending time, (2) purpose of the meeting, (3) background material and what to bring, and (4) agenda items in order of importance along with person responsible for the item.
Finally, the leader must effectively run the meeting. Leadership who lead focused and productive meetings tend to: start on time, stick to the agenda, table issues needing more time, take minutes, summarize and clarify, set the date for the next meeting, and end the meeting on time. This structure allows for a respect for other people’s time and attention and will allow others to be an active part of the meeting
We all have wasted many hours in dull or boring meetings with no purpose. Use your leadership skills to run more effective meetings and you will see organizational progress.
In order to improve leadership skills, consider the tips that follow:
· Participate in leadership training
· Plan for meetings
· Set the agenda for meetings
· Effectively run meetings
Baggerly-Hinojosa (2010). Are You a 10? USA: Lulu Publishers.
Denning, S. (2007). The secret language of leadership. Jossey-Bass