How to Overcome Ineffective Meetings

by Dr. Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders on January 22, 2016

Good leaders understand how to leverage both relationships and results to achieve a mission. Article provided by Dr. Tim Elmore and our partners at iDisciple.

Leadership is a tender balance between relationships and results. Relationships must come first, but merely experiencing friendships with your team may not result in any productivity. Good leaders understand how to leverage both to achieve a mission. Far too often, however, leaders and teams get bogged down in distractions, requests from others, too many options… and all of these lead to ineffective meetings. Teams experience activity without accomplishment in those meetings.
So what undermines effective meetings?
  1. The meeting objectives are poorly defined. Leaders must put their objectives in print, clear and simple to understand: here is why we are meeting.
  2. People are invited based on protocol not need. Good leaders invite those who can solve problems, not merely represent needs from the group.
  3. Participants are not prepared for the meeting. Leaders should give team members material ahead of time so they are ready to discuss and act.
  4. We often hold non-essential meetings. Good leaders know not to meet because of mere tradition. If they don’t have a good reason to meet, they cancel it.
  5. The meetings last too long. Usually, the longer a meeting goes, the more attendees lose interest and creativity. Leaders must determine an appropriate time span.
  6. The participants try to reach consensus on minor issues. Good leaders decide what’s worth “dying for.” They don’t waste time on unimportant issues.
  7. The meeting is held in an atmosphere that’s not conducive for discussion. If the issues are sensitive, good leaders know not to meet in a loud or public place.
  8. One person is allowed to dominate the meeting. Good leaders talk to dominant members prior to meetings, asking them to speak last and summarize the discussion.
  9. The facilitator of the meeting is not a good leader. This should give you incentive to become a better leader each week.
  10. No action or wrong action is taken after the meeting. Nothing kills the incentive of team members than seeing poor results after each time they meet.
An Agenda for an Effective Meeting
Sometimes, the agenda for a meeting hinders productivity. Team members get stuck.
If your goal is to actually get something done—not merely report what’s happened since the last meeting—you may want to try a different agenda. I have found that the order I lay out the items for discussion and action may help or hamper our progress.

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