Does this sound like one of your usual team meetings? You, the boss who knows everything there is to know, do all the talking, telling and critiquing of your staff, and they do all the listening and head nodding?
Well if you are the one who is now nodding your head, then read on, because you’re about to learn how to transform your boring (yes, that’s what your staff think they are) team meetings into vibrant, energetic and powerful sessions, that will have you shaking your head and wondering why you didn’t do this sooner.
There is a better way to make the time you and your staff invest in team meetings a lot more productive.
So, let’s look at the “average” team meeting structure…
First, you (TB), makes up a list of things you want to tell the staff.
This list generally consists of what is important to you and what you believe that they are not doing very well within your business.
Everyone sits there quietly fuming because they have had to give up their precious time to attend this meeting, and are probably resenting being told what they have done badly and how they should perform better in the future.
You finish talking and voila, the meeting is over without them getting in more than a word or two about what matters to them.
No wonder your staff are starting to drift off within the first 5 minutes of the meeting.
Heads are starting to drop, arms are getting crossed, bodies are slipping down in chairs, eyelids are starting to droop and most importantly, ears have been tuned out of what you are saying and into the WIIFM station. (That’s the “What’s In It For Me” station that is constantly playing in everybody’s head).
Let’s face it, would you want to be on the receiving end all the time without an opportunity to express your thoughts or suggestions about how you could achieve more in your work?
We know that our staff generally dislike (for want of a stronger word) these types of meetings but for some strange reason, the format doesn’t ever change. Why? Because most bosses don’t know how else to go about them.
It is vitally important to keep the communication lines open between management and staff, but when management are the ones doing all the telling instead of most of the listening, things generally start going down the gurgler… and fast.
Having established what doesn’t work, it’s time to look at what does work.
- To begin, ensure that each staff member is given a list of items that you would like to discuss during the meeting. Ask them to put on their thinking caps and to bring along their ideas and suggestions about each of these items.
- Always allow enough time at your meeting so that EVERYONE gets a chance to put forward their thoughts and suggestions. This is absolutely essential, otherwise what often happens is that you, and possibly the noisiest team members, generally take control of the meeting and nobody else gets a word in edgewise.
- Make it a firm rule that each team member gets to speak in turn on each agenda item without any interruptions. When everyone has had their turn to speak, you can open up the floor for discussion making sure that they are not interrupted whilst they are speaking.
What does this do and how does it help?
It ensures that everyone knows that they will have the chance to be heard. This is incredibly important and very empowering for your team members. Some of the very best ideas you will have put forward will often come from the team member who generally doesn’t get a word in at your meetings because they are the shy, quiet ones.
After you have completed your list of agenda items and if time permits, work around the room and see if any of your staff have items that they would like to discuss.
This frightens so many bosses because they think that they will have to agree to an action requested of them that they may not want to take. You don’t have to promise to do anything at this point in time except receive their suggestions with thanks and let them know you are totally willing to listen to their ideas, give those ideas full consideration, and make the final decision after that process is complete.
Sounds really simple, doesn’t it? And it really is this simple.
Finally, if you really want to boost team morale, finish off your meeting with some positive reinforcement for each team member. Not by you…..but by the others on the team.
Ask each person to make an honest and positive statement about the person sitting beside them with emphasis on their contribution to the business! This process always has a very encouraging effect on the team member who is receiving the compliment.
Do this, and your team will leave the meeting feeling upbeat and more highly committed to their jobs and each other. There is also a great chance that you will have had the most productive meeting ever.
Try it….you will love the results and more importantly, so will your staff.
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