One of our mantras at VoiceText is that "a manager’s job is to remove obstacles", free the team to get their work done. From curtailing unnecessary emails to providing structure and organization- your team counts on you to foster communication. Meetings are one of the key ways managers communicate with their teams and these can be incredibly effective or can be tremendous wastes of time.
Getting your team together can be useful- it brings you up to speed, let’s them voice any obstacles they are facing (that’s your cue!) and can aid in collaboration. Or meetings can be an enormous time suck. We’ve all been in bad meetings and often the host is the only one in the room who doesn’t realize they are wasting precious time. Are you hosting? Time to get organized.
First, schedule it. On-the-fly meetings are intrusive, give people a chance to get it in their calendar. Second, edit your participant list to only those who really need to be there. You may ask someone to drop in if they are needed for a Q&A just to drop in for the first part of the meeting. You will be a hero if you are able to free these employees from sitting through an hour long meeting when they only need to be there for 5 minutes. Finally, stay on track. You should have an agenda and a timed schedule. When conversations go off into the weeds, bring it back on course. If something is going long put a pin in it and follow up with the relevant parties later.
The point here is that long meetings that don’t remove obstacles for employees are a massive waste of their time. Which brings me to a final point about meetings- when you are not hosting you are the invisible shield that can deflect bad meetings away from your employees. If you are looped in check the meeting agenda and verify that your team members actually need to be there. If they don’t step in and let the host know your team member is too busy to attend. Encourage your employees to ask you to run a meeting intercept when they receive an invitation for a meeting they don’t feel they really need to attend.
Meetings are a part of our day-to-day work-life. Make sure that they are a positive, worthwhile part of your teams experience, not a wast of time and resources. Your employees will be happier and more productive.