Ineffective meetings waste time and money. They can also engender frustration, lack of respect and even anger among employees who feel that their time and ideas aren’t valued.
Meetings, both small and large, can provide leaders with a chance to motivate and encourage their employees. However, done badly, they can have a negative effect on morale that can curtail the flow of new ideas and ultimately hurt your business.
Habits To Steer Clear Of in a Meeting
We’re going to look at three habits of meeting facilitators and leaders that can be particularly damaging. We’ll also discuss ways to avoid them. These habits can also manifest themselves in other parts of your work and relationships with employees, so it’s particularly important to recognize them in yourself or your management team and then to change them. As one author on successful business strategies put it, “bad managers run bad meetings.”
1. Being a “Know-it-All”
Ineffective leaders refuse to recognize the expertise of the people who work for them. In meetings, they discourage questions and discussion, perhaps because they lack confidence in their own expertise.
A good manager encourages employees to bring their ideas to the meetings and to question the status quo. Not only does that lead to new, improved processes and strategies, but it also improves morale and encourages people to bring their best to their job.
2. Not Respecting People’s Time
There are a lot of ways in which managers show their disregard for employees in the scheduling of meetings. Some, particularly if they don’t have a personal life that they want to get home to, schedule meetings late in the day and run past people’s normal departure time. These can disrupt people’s ability to pick up kids, get home to dinner with the family and keep non-work-related appointments. Others hold unnecessarily long meetings, keeping employees from doing their job and possibly making sales calls that would bring more money to the company.
Leaders who work for international companies sometimes schedule meetings without any regard to the fact that they might be asking their Hong Kong team to get up at 4 a.m. or their London team to stay at work past 8 p.m.
Experienced corporate facilitators know that a good meeting leader is respectful of employees’ time, doesn’t keep them longer than necessary, and tries not to hold meetings outside of normal work hours. If you have to occasionally, at least buy breakfast or dinner for the group to show your appreciation.
3. Stealing Credit
We’ve all had bosses who took credit for other people’s ideas when they were successful but were only too happy to point to an employee who suggested an idea that didn’t work. One key way that a leader can undermine his or her own meetings is to listen to ideas from the group and then present them to senior management as if they were all his or hers.
This is a common flaw of poor leaders, whether because they are too vain or too insecure to recognize other people’s contributions. By giving credit to the team member(s) who came up with the idea when it succeeds, they encourage participation in brainstorming, strategy and process improvement meetings. Moreover, if an idea doesn’t pan out, a good boss accepts responsibility and doesn’t blame others. Leaders who are comfortable giving credit where it’s due are also more likely to delegate responsibilities to give employees further ownership of their ideas.
How a Professional Facilitator Can Help
One of the many advantages of hiring a professional facilitator for important meetings and conferences is to avoid some of the pitfalls that happen when a manager leads a meeting of people who work for him or her. Experienced corporate facilitators like those that FindaFacilitator provides focus on getting the most out of the meeting and the employees participating in it. Because the employees don’t work for them and the facilitators don’t have a history, good or bad, with the employees, a freer flow of ideas often results.