Welcome to yet another article in Effective leadership series. First of all, I'm very glad that I was able to complete 30 articles in this series so far. My mind is continuing to think about lots of interesting topics to write going forward on Effective leadership. In our previous article in the series, we saw in detail about different types of meetings. In this article, we will see other aspects of meetings and how significant a meeting can be for an effective leader. Meetings are usually part of the company's agenda. It may not be always significant for all types of teams and job nature. For some teams, meetings may not add any value. Some teams can never operate without regular meetings. The perspective will change from one organization to another and even from one team to another team inside the same organization. A meeting is a big effort of bringing people together. With the collective strength, the organization can achieve lots of things. A leader should know how to use the meetings significantly. If you feel that the meetings are not going to add any value to the team, the leader can look forward to minimizing meetings.
Meetings are usually a problem for the leaders. Most of the time spent by the leaders and managers are always in meetings. In such cases, they always feel the pressured by the amount of time spent on meetings. They really want to make the use of the meetings to make wise decisions with a collective discussion. If the leader thinks the decision can be made individually without a necessity of a meeting, it can add lots of value as some meetings end up with no decision but just confusion. The meetings organized by the leaders should not be a habitual meeting. If there are no topics to discuss over a meeting, the manager or the leader should feel free to cancel the meeting. This will really save lots of time for many staff members including leaders and managers. In some teams, there will usually be a daily catch up meeting or a weekly team meeting. If you really find that it is not going to add any value to the team, it will be good to cancel them.
Art of executing a meeting
Conducting a meeting or organizing a meeting is an interesting task. The chairperson of the meeting is responsible for keeping the staff members in the meeting more focused on the agenda for the meeting. Before starting a meeting or calling people for a meeting, it is important to have the agenda ready beforehand. When the meeting invite is sent, the agenda of the meeting can be sent to the staff members. This will help them prepare well for the meeting beforehand. If there are any documents to be distributed to the staff members before the meeting, the leader or the chairperson should ensure that it is done. This will save lots of time during the meeting where the chairperson can skip the part of explaining the context once again during the meeting. The responsibility of the chairperson is to ensure that every individual in the meeting is allowed to contribute their ideas or suggestions if they are interested. The leader should take control over the entire meeting making sure the agenda is followed in an orderly manner.
The chairperson should not be highly commanding throughout the meeting. Enough time and space should be given to all the participants to share their views and ideas. This will only make the discussion healthy and the meeting a successful one. Towards the end of the meeting when all the discussions are complete, it is the responsibility of the chairperson to summarize the action plans that were discussed during the meeting along with the deadlines and personal responsibilities of every staff member who attended the meeting. The chairperson role is to organize the meeting in an orderly manner, the position need not be dictatorial.
If you are organizing a meeting for planning about the work, make sure the planning part is not higher compared to that of the actual execution time. Unnecessary authorizations and approvals inside the team can be avoided. Let's take an example of a situation where the team needs additional resources. In such cases, a meeting will be conducted to discuss why there is a necessity for additional resource. The team leader will first explain the necessity to the line manager and from there it will go to the HR department and from there the request will go to the billing team. If the new resource is for an off-shore project the approval will go to the off-shore director. In every single step, there will be a need for a meeting to be scheduled where the team lead or the line manager will be explaining about the requirement for an additional resource and get it approved. This is just an example, there are several other business cases where there are lots of delays happening because of multiple interim meetings conducted to finalize something. For authorization related concerns it will be wise to leave the authorisation to individuals instead of teams or the leaders. This will not require any meetings and thus can save lots of time for the staff members.
Short meetings and long meetings
Meetings can either be a group discussion with the board members or important staff members or it can just be an information sharing session where just the chairperson will be providing an update to all the other participants of the meeting. The meetings with just an update are usually shorter meetings as there will be just one person providing an update to the team and others will only ask questions if at all they have something in their mind. It will not end up to be a discussion session. On the other hand, discussion and decision-making meetings are usually longer ones. Though there will be a planned agenda to be followed, some topics can lead to loping discussions which can consume lots of time. In such cases, the meetings can really become a never-ending burden. Such meetings can be classified as longer meetings. If the meetings are dragging for longer than the expected time, the meeting can be closed and continued as another session. If there is a necessity to arrive at decision sooner, informal meetings will solve the purpose and make the work easier for the leaders.
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