Do Your Meetings Disappoint? Try Adding These 3 Elements

king-penguin-384252_640I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of bad meetings. I’m tired of listening to a talking head drone on about topics I already know about, have no interest in, or have no influence over. I’m tired of being bored, uninspired, and generally less informed than when the meeting started. In short, I’m tired of wasting my time in unproductive meetings.

And I’m talking about my meetings.

That’s right, the meetings I’ve presided over lately have been some of the worst. My team counts on me for direction, information, and motivation. As their leader, it’s my job to ensure that our interactions provide them with what they need to enthusiastically conquer the world, or at least their weekly objectives. And to this point, I’ve generally failed them. I’ve allowed our weekly meetings to devolve into something we all tolerate rather than something we look forward to.

That’s unfortunate, because team members should look forward to the opportunity to gather together. Team meetings should be sacred – events cherished for their ability to unite the team, recharge the batteries, and refine the mission. They should be something people enjoy, not something they endure. That’s my charge as the leader. I’m the one who has to make sure that happens.

In particular, there are three elements that have been missing from most of my team meetings. These elements are concepts that I preach about on a regular basis, but have failed to consistently incorporate into my team’s meetings. Shame on me.

  1. Focus: If there’s any one thing that defines leadership, it’s providing focus. Most people spend their day in one of two ways. They either rush from task to task, desperately trying to put out fires; or they wander from task to task, aimlessly wiling away the hours until it’s time to head home. Without focus, people are left to figure out on their own what’s most important at any given time. It’s the job of the leader to provide that focus. Team meetings are a key vehicle to accomplish that. Meetings present an opportunity to align the efforts of the team, to get the group’s collective effort channeled in the right direction. It’s a chance for everyone to hear, right from the horse’s mouth, what their priorities should be right now. Focus clears away the clutter and confusion that accompanies competing agendas. Meetings should always clarify focus.
  2. Interaction: A team cannot succeed together unless they work together. Working together requires communication. Whether your team’s focus is the accomplishment of sales goals, completing a project, or solving a particular problem; interaction is critical. Team members who don’t regularly interact with each other miss out on the whole purpose of having a team. Team members are meant to work with each other. Not just in close proximity to each other or just on related projects, but with each other. That requires interaction, and team meetings are a great way to facilitate that. Meetings should be a time when people come together to learn from each other and collaborate. Nothing solidifies the bonds of a team more than working together to solve the same problem or achieve the same goal. Meetings should always foster interaction.
  3. Accountability: Another core aspect of leadership is the application of accountability. Without it, commitments are often forgotten, ignored, or minimized. Top performers love to win. They love moving forward and achieving the goal. For that reason, they relish accountability. Want to see your best employees scale back their efforts? Drop the ball when it comes to accountability. Letting things slide is a surefire way to lose the commitment of your top performers. Why should they continue working so hard when others are regularly let off the hook? Team meetings are a great way to establish a culture of accountability. Make sure to clarify expectations before the meeting is adjourned. Follow up as necessary and be prepared to conduct an accountability check as part of the next one. When everyone is held accountable, everyone will be. Meetings should always provide accountability.

I’ve never claimed to be a great leader, but I’m working on it. I’m going to give more attention to the way I conduct my team meetings going forward. I know that by using them as a vehicle to clarify the team’s focus, foster interaction between the fantastic individuals that make up the staff, and providing an appropriate level of accountability; I can help move the whole group forward. That’s what leadership is all about.


Have an opinion on this post? Share your thoughts on our facebook page.