Important meetings can help companies move forward with important projects. Others are a waste. According to 47% of employees, meetings are their biggest expense in the workday.
These dull and repetitive meetings are a waste of time and energy. Worst of all, most meetings end in complaints, blames and arguments. Communication breaks down when meetings become hostile and unnecessarily tense. Progression slows down. Morale suffers.
It is important to control the meeting’s dynamics as a leader so they don’t become one big discussion. These are ways to ensure that your time is not wasted on employees complaining and to ensure that your meetings are constructive.
A meeting can only be successful if everyone has a common purpose and structure. This is especially true if there is contentious or potential for complaints. The agenda should be prepared before you dive into the content. Make sure you are clear about what topics will be covered and when. If the conversation veers off-track, this will help you get it back on track.
Also, you should introduce the discussion by setting a clear and forward-looking goal such as “We are here for a revised schedule for the project” or “Our goal is to decide on the release date of such a product.”
If the meeting was not specifically intended for this purpose, don’t dwell on why a project failed or is delayed. Reorient your team to the current situation. You can share a vision, mission, or purpose with your team and then set your sights on achieving an inspiring future goal.
You should establish rules of engagement whenever you want to encourage a fair discussion. You should at least ban yelling or name-calling. If you are going to discuss a contentious topic at the meeting, let everyone know that you would prefer a peaceful discussion. It establishes a set of rules that all participants must agree to.
These limitations can be helpful in keeping the conversation lively, passionate, but not too complicated. Remember the rules if the conversation becomes too heated. The emotional temperature of the room will drop if there is a sense of respect and courtesy.
People vent because they want to hear their opinions. You must show concern for your team’s problems and concerns in order to end their complaints. Listen to your team members during the meeting. Empathy can be expressed with phrases such as “I understand why this should be a challenge” and “I hear your point of view.” It must be difficult. “Then dig deeper. Ask clarifying questions such as “Can you tell me more?” Ask clarifying questions like “Can you tell me more?”
These questions can help you find the root cause of people’s frustrations, and what is preventing them from moving forward. Avoid dwelling on problems too long, as this can lead to negativity and meanness.
It’s time for solutions mode. After you have released the pressure valve, and listened to your employees’ complaints, it is time to let go. Many leaders make the common mistake of assigning roles and responsibilities when under pressure. They tell their team what to do.
Although an autocratic approach can be effective in the short-term, it is more likely to create resistance and pushback. Training people to solve their own problems is far more effective.