You’ve invested thousands of hours that you’ll never get back in contentious, mind-numbing meetings with nothing to show for it but a demotivated team.
When was the last time you held a meeting that unleashed a burst of energy and propelled your team to new heights of collaboration and creativity? A meeting that generated momentum that pushed them beyond the expected?
If your answer is NEVER, it’s time you figured out how to forever end the meeting monotony that lulls your team into a listless state of going through the motions.
The smartest leaders do these four things to cut through the boredom and get everyone engaged, motivated, and inspired.
Do Decide on the Outcome First
Pre-plan your meeting, with the help of technology, to get the team to agree on where it is ultimately headed — even when you don’t all agree on the nitty-gritty of how to get there. Ask everyone to respond to the meeting invite with the following two things: what they want the ultimate outcome of the meeting to be, and what will give the team the best chance of attaining it. Collect all the responses and make the options visible to all. Encourage debate to take place ahead of time and settle on the focus before the meeting date arrives. This way everyone arrives informed, enthused, and ready to discuss a strategy for attaining your goal.
Do Know the Rules
It’s easy to be blindsided by disagreements that arise during meetings. Create transparent rules for handling the conflicts that arise so that the meeting doesn’t get hijacked by fights over small details. A few essentials to get you started:
focus — the success of everyone involved.
for each other regardless of title or position.
expression of perspectives, views, and beliefs, especially when they
highlight flaws and assumptions.
one sits on the sidelines — active solicitation of participation.
and support of the role of the ultimate decision maker.
to support the final decision once it is made.
Do Be a Pushover
Know when to step back. Give others a chance to plan and lead team meetings. They’ll gain an appreciation for what it takes to structure and lead a discussion, encourage teammates to be more creative, facilitate dialogue and debate, and maintain momentum. It also helps them develop skills they’ll need in the future.
Do Sweat the Details
Switch up the venue, length, format, and attendees of your meetings, or get people to assume different roles. Ask team members to serve as the meeting manager, devil’s advocate, solicitor of others’ points of view, and so on. This type of disruption challenges the status quo that leads to groupthink and reinvigorates the discussion, causing the various players to pause, think, and respond more intelligently.
Putting these strategies into practice will feel uncomfortable at first. Change is always a challenge. However, in the long run, changing the direction of your next meeting will leverage the differences, bonds, and insights of the brilliant minds in the room, and most of all will shape your team’s impression of you as their leader.