We all have them…Weekly or bi-weekly staff meetings. Mostly, we…. the leader and the staff….dread them. They go something like this…Not everyone is on time. We spend too much time talking about the weekend. Someone always talks (for way too long) about themselves and their amazing or awful weekend. Nothing new is discussed, except for some new policy someone put out, etc.
The good news is there is one question that can change it all. Before we talk about that question, here are a few other questions you need to answer for yourself, like:
· Are the meetings truly valuable?
· Are you having them at the right frequency?
· Are you letting someone hijack the meeting and driving everyone else crazy?
· What is the true purpose of getting everyone together?
· Are you on auto-pilot or “phoning it in” as the leader?
· What can your people count on in that meeting that will have a positive effect on them?
I could continue to list questions trying to get at how crummy your meetings might be… but let’s get on with the one question you can ask every week that can turn this time you spend into something more than just a recurring meeting.
The one question is this: How can we be better?
Yep…. that’s it. Seems simple, yes? The reason it works is that it allows people to discuss where the organization and team can improve. It gives them a voice and in turn buy-in to the bigger picture. Sure, some people will talk about how everyone else can be better but you gently guiding this conversation will determine its success.
A few rules for the leader:
- Create a safe space when you ask this the first time. Explain how valuable their input is and you want to be open to their feedback.
- Listen to their comments. Seriously listen.
- Write the comments down on a whiteboard or giant post-it note.
- Don’t agree to change anything but agree to consider it all.
- Report back on any changes that come from their feedback.
- Ask this question often. They need to know it’s not just a one-shot chance to give feedback.
This is a simple strategy that can create engagement and turn around the energy of any meeting. People have things to say…..let them. If you keep worrying about that one person you are afraid to give a platform to then…well….you might want to check out a few of my other blogs or grab a copy of our book, “What Exceptional Leaders Know”!