Coaching for the Future-Forward Leader
As a senior leader in my company, I find meetings are crucial for keeping tabs on what’s going on and making decisions. But we seem to accomplish little, people are frequently unprepared, and they gripe about the time cost. How can I shift people’s attitudes and run more effective meetings?
We’ve all been there: We sit through an hour of conversation, and somehow, there’s less clarity at the end of the meeting than there was at the beginning. We walk out, lamenting the wasted time and lack of progress.
In an era of hyperproductivity, an endless list of to-do items, and personal exhaustion, your team probably sees meetings as an obstacle to getting back to their work rather than something purposeful. Shifting that attitude toward one of enthusiastic engagement means rethinking what you’re trying to accomplish with meetings. With the widespread move to remote work, opportunities to engage with our teams in real time have become rarer and more valuable. How can we use this time to deepen relationships? What if we make trust-building a key aim of every type of meeting?
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The decision-making meeting is usually about a commitment to a course of action. Here, you can also discuss the emotional consequences of the decisions for your people and the best ways to communicate a change. A deep discussion of these questions provides insight into others’ values and approaches.
Brainstorming and problem-solving meetings benefit enormously from explicit consideration of trust-building. Everyone needs to feel comfortable sharing their ideas while resisting the urge to judge. Here, you want to encourage vulnerability, because when we say “I don’t know,” we acknowledge our limits and interdependencies within the greater team.
There’s also an opportunity to transform the sometimes-routine information-sharing meeting into a richer venue for connection. Try setting the expectation that these are opportunities to learn more about one another’s challenges and strategies, and encourage questions. These meetings also provide the opportunity to celebrate wins or invite help from another department. Use the time to help team members build connections with one another — a matrix — instead of hub-and-spoke connections with you at the center as the go-to problem solver.
Finally, try to include a time for collective reflection in a regular team meeting. Tarang Amin, CEO of e.l.f.