Leadership tips: team meeting mistakes

Whether your business loves or loathes team meetings, one thing is for sure – good leadership is very difficult to achieve without the leader engaging with the team. Take in the below leadership tips, and avoid these meeting mistakes.

Team meetings are an excellent forum for leaders to communicate important messages, to provide organisational updates and to clarify the strategy. But how many leaders are unwittingly disengaging their teams during these meetings because of some simple bad habits? If your leaders are doing these, they need to consider these leadership tips.

Managers who continue to commit the same errors time and time again will inevitably lose the attention and respect of their teams. Below are my top five meeting mistakes for leaders to avoid when holding team meetings.

1. Failing to set an agenda for the meeting

Where leaders turn up to every team meeting with no planned agenda, it is inevitable that employees will start to wonder if their time could be better spent elsewhere. Often these leaders hold meetings that have little structure or purpose and critical information is often omitted. Implementing an agenda for each team meeting highlights to employees that thought has been put into each meeting and it also gives employees the impression that the team meeting is important.

Tip: Develop an agenda template that can be easily referenced and adapted for each meeting. Include some standing agenda items such as office movements and a company update, and then some space for other agenda items which change each meeting according to what’s on.

2. Displaying discourteous behaviour such as arriving late and taking phone calls/checking mobile phones during team meetings

Yes, it may well be the boss running the meeting but little respect is gained where employees are treated as if their work time is not important. Where a leader is continually late it shows a lack of respect to those attending the meeting. Remember that to have a successful employee/boss relationship mutual respect is a critical element.

Tip: Make a blanket rule that mobile phones must go on to silent during team meetings, and they also must be placed facing downwards on the meeting table (or on the floor). If you are worried about missing urgent phone calls, a five minute break could occur midway to check messages. To ensure meetings commence on time, make them the first appointment of the day.

3. Failing to create an inclusive and safe team environment

Many leaders are fearful about creating an inclusive environment where staff ideas and suggestions form a part of the culture.Considering others viewpoints takes courage, particularly where a leader is set on a particular path or is concerned about losing some control. However, leaders can implement inclusive practises without losing control of decision making.

Tip: Some easy to implement ideas include asking staff for input on agenda items prior to each team meeting, including regular brainstorming sessions in your meetings which address specific work problems that require thought, or asking a different team member to present a topic/segment at each meeting that you would ordinarily present. An inclusive approach to meetings will create a collaborative and engaging environment where employees feel like they are heard, involved and valued.

4. Cancelling team meetings on a regular basis

Every leader will need to cancel a team meeting from time to time. However, when team meetings are cancelled regularly it sends a very clear message to employees that the leader does not consider team meetings to be important.

Tip: Make team meetings a priority by placing them at a time where they are not likely to be cancelled due to day to day operational issues. It also might be a good idea to think about the real reasons why the meetings are not a priority. Perhaps the content of your team meetings needs a refocus so that more valuable information is shared, which will result in a better ROI for time spent away from other work.

5. Running the meeting as a WIP with no guidelines on content

The WIP meeting can be either a waste of time, or a gift. While having everyone give an update on their work progress to each other is a nice touch, the WIP can become lengthy and monotonous if team members provide too much detail. To move your WIP from unproductive to worthwhile, set some guidelines on what information individual updates should include and how long updates should go for.

Leadership Tips: One approach is to set a guideline that each team member is to provide a brief but specific update on their two most important activities for the week. Also set a strict time frame for the update to be delivered in such as ‘3 minutes’. Rather than sharing too much information, this strategy will help employees choose only the most important and relevant information to share. Those are our five meeting mistakes for leaders to avoid.

Industryus HR are specialists in people related business improvement strategies, including individual leadership performance and leadership tips. We offer a free initial consultation, so why not give us a call on 07 5655 4047 or click here if you would like to discuss any current issues your business is facing.

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