Meaningful meetings – 3 tips to build leadership capability

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There are a lot of sensible steps to make meetings productive and efficient.  It’s worth considering though, can we move beyond the hygiene factors of effective agendas, well presented information, clear decisions and actions, into meaningful leadership development?

Here are 3 simple tips to add leadership development into any team meeting.

  1. Build in a personal reflective practice

Start the meeting by asking yourself (or your team) a question like – how would you like to bring yourself into this meeting? Or, how would you like to contribute to this meeting?  Would you like to speak up more, or listen more actively?  Perhaps you would like to try to stay out of the detail, or be more encouraging of different ideas.  By reflecting on our ambitions, we become more attuned to them, and are more likely to develop as better leaders with every meeting.

2. Build in a team reflective practice

At the end of a meeting, ask the team, “How did we go as a team today?”  This is a great opportunity for people to acknowledge areas for improvement.  Did everyone contribute and listen well?  Were we welcoming and respectful to our guests? Did we encourage ideas or close them down? What do we want to do differently next time? 

3. Ask how people are feeling

Start the meeting by asking how your team members are feeling – emotionally.  It may not be easy but try and have them avoid words like fine, ok, good.  Encourage honesty and openness.  If a team member shares that they are having trouble focussing because of concern for an ill family member – you approach the conversation differently.  It doesn’t have to turn into counselling session, quite the opposite.  A quick acknowledgement is usually all that’s needed. If we simply acknowledge what’s going on below the surface we are able to form deeper relationships with our colleagues, have more respectful dialogue, and even create more productive environments. 

Taking the time to go beyond the content of the meeting to consider how we as leaders are personally contributing and developing can make every meeting more meaningful.  We can use each occasion to help ourselves and our teams move closer to our personal and professional goals.