Have you ever held a team meeting with a stated, “official” purpose but really had an ulterior motive? Most leaders do this at least once during their careers, and more often than not, this tactic is rarely successful.
Your employees are smart enough to know when the official reason isn’t the real reason, but may not always figure out what’s going on beneath the surface. When that happens, everything ranging from gossip to distrust emerges.
And then, you’ve lost them.
I witnessed meetings like this a few times in recent weeks. Although important objectives were achieved, I felt that many participants left these meetings feeling suspicious.
Be more transparent about why you’re having a team meeting. This may cause some discomfort for you, but it’s always better than masking the purpose. In most cases, your employees will respect your openness.
Engage the participants so that everyone has the opportunity to speak up. Obviously, some employees will be more talkative than others, but the important thing is to involve them. If managers and supervisors are the only ones who talk, the employees will feel “talked at”.
Assign follow-up items to participants so they continue participating beyond the actual meeting. Where appropriate, create small groups to work on specific tasks.
Even the geography makes a difference. A neutral room (a conference room, if possible) is important so that it doesn’t seem territorial. And make sure that people are well integrated around the room; in other words, management and staff should be interspersed around the table.
Building a team takes work. Unfortunately, when it’s done ineffectively, you may take a couple of steps back from your goal. The good news is, when you do it right, big things can happen.
Have a great week – and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!