I am a relatively new manager of a few staff members and I am trying to establish a way of being in meetings with them to figure out how I can best be able to assist them throughout the year.
I’ve set up meetings with each of these individuals, but quite frankly, don’t really know where to start on things to bring up with them. I’m a pretty hands off kind of guy (not to mention swamped with my own work, as are they…) so it’s not like there’s a tremendous need for any kind of intervention.
Bottom line is I guess I’m curious if there are any ideas you have to get the ball rolling, as I look to establish regular meetings with these colleagues. What types of ideas should I approach?
I’d venture to say that millions of dollars are wasted every day in the work world because of unnecessary, poorly run meetings. All you need to do on any given day is look around a meeting table and calculate what it costs the company in hourly salaries and benefits of each person and then weigh it against the purpose and outcome of the meeting in which they are participating. But with that said, I still believe that meetings can be one of the most powerful tools you have as a leader.
People who think of meetings as a necessary evil are missing the boat. Meetings are one of the most important tools management has to leverage the organization’s human assets. Just like the budget process provides a structure for managing financial assets and computer technology provides the means to manipulate information resources, meetings provide infrastructure to communication.
But you are wise to think through why you are having meetings and what you want to accomplish. Too many managers just have meetings for meeting sake. Start by asking yourself, “What do my employees really want and need?” The answers are universal:
Now, think about what you need:
So, where do meetings come in? While some of this can be accomplished through emails and job descriptions, nothing can replace face-to-face dialogue for creating buy-in, understanding, coaching, problem-solving and all the sophisticated communications required in the modern workplace.
Here’s an some ideas to get you started:
Regularly scheduled, one-on-one meetings are valuable, even if you work closely with your staff and communicate informally. The reason? Casual communication has its place but it can get out of control with frequent interruptions and questions that can fill your day and prevent you from getting other work done.
You and your employees need a forum for discussing projects, problems and performance. The staff meeting is not the right place for that. Most staff meetings waste valuable problem solving time “going around the table” with reports from each person on their projects—90 percent of which is a bore to everyone else.
Each employee deserves personal time with you, to have an open dialogue about his or her work. This is especially true if they work independently on diverse projects. The meeting frequency could be weekly, in a fast paced environment or less often if the situation doesn’t warrant it. So, your agenda could be quite simple:
Staff meetings are valuable to build teamwork and solve problems. They also help people realize how they connect to the overall goals of the department and the organization.
Here, you could use the following agenda:
Quarterly meetings for the whole department, including all employees and stakeholders are useful because they force people to step back and see the entire picture and how they fit in.
The agenda could be:
- Joan Lloyd
Joan Lloyd has a solid track record of excellent results. Her firm, Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding. This includes executive coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized leadership training, conflict resolution between teams or individuals, internal consulting skills training for HR professionals and retreat facilitation. Clients report results such as: behavior change in leaders, improved team performance and a more committed workforce.