Leadership is shown in a variety of ways and locations. But, the most visible day-to-day expression is frequently how leaders conduct meetings.
The criteria for leadership may not be fair and maybe unduly simple, but the fact remains that excellent leaders conduct good meetings and terrible leaders have awful meetings. Period. It all boils down to who controls your schedule?
While they are not the same, leadership and management are strongly related. Meetings tend to be more about control than leadership, but management and leadership are tightly correlated. Both jobs are complicated and include much more than just gatherings, to be sure.
Most of a leader’s responsibilities occur behind closed doors, away from the confines of a conference room. So when asked whether a manager is an effective leader, it’s not unusual for the reply to take a few moments. But do you consider how that individual conducts meetings in the first place?
Meeting Leader and the Questions to Ask in Advance
Is the meeting leader someone who can organize a productive and efficient meeting? Are they able to keep a meeting interesting? Are the appropriate individuals in attendance? Do folks feel like they have a voice in the meeting? Do they take part in the game? Are you able to complete the agenda? Are you respecting the time of attendees? Is the meeting scheduled to begin and conclude on time? Is the group capable of generating ground-breaking concepts? Did you consider a healthy exchange of ideas and debate? Can the group come to terms with the leader’s efforts and reach a consensus? Is action taken, or are choices made due to the discussion?
The higher one’s position in an organizational structure, the more people are likely to add the meeting to their schedule. So, for example, someone working in the mailroom often has fewer meetings than a mid-level manager. But the CEO, on the other hand, will have more meeting needs than executives higher in the organizational hierarchy. It is what leadership sometimes refers to as their pound of flesh.
Indeed, according to some estimates, managers and executives spend anywhere from a quarter to a half of their time in meetings. Moreover, even at meetings, they are absent from other arrangements because they have been double- or triple-done
Is there an excessive number of meetings taking place inside organizations? Is it possible to limit the number of meetings? Should individuals attend fewer meetings than they now do? Yes, this is true virtually universally across all industries.
There will, however, be meetings as long as organizations can’t find ways to opt-out of them. And they will be led by managers and leaders who employees will evaluate based on how well they conduct themselves in meetings — or let’s get real — the “meeting evaluation” is really about how much power or authority that leader has over the employee.
More Productive Meetings
So, do you advocate for more productive meetings or more excellent skills? The most straightforward argument is to add up the number of hours spent — or squandered for any given task. And, depending on the situation — how much time is spent in meetings and multiply that total by the hourly cost per employee.
Adding together all of these figures always gives astonishing results. Each company may squander millions of dollars each company, and maybe billions of dollars are spent in aggregate. To no one’s surprise, unproductive meetings are one of the most significant sources of time, money, and productivity loss inside businesses. Furthermore, a less apparent but possibly essential indicator to consider is the decline in morale resulting from attending poor meeting sessions.
Although the loss or decline in morale is somewhat perplexing, new managers (let alone experienced ones) receive little training on conducting good meetings. To be sure, this is a symptom of a bigger problem. Leaders promote individuals into new positions without obtaining enough training for the new work in question.
If managers are fortunate enough to get a short training session on the necessity of drafting agendas, that would be lucky. And that’s all; now go out into the world and manage your team, and best of luck.
Significance of Leader Training to Conduct Meetings
Consider the enormous significance of meetings. In terms of time, money, and morale, a close look is warranted, especially when considering the beneficial impact that even basic training can have on employees and leaders. Indeed, businesses should prioritize teaching managers effective meeting management techniques.
What are the long-term benefits of managers being responsible for leading meetings for hours weekly, year after year? What if each event is 30 or 50 percent less productive than the last? That high percentage may seem like negative thinking — but consider how many managers are out there without formal training.
Various other skills are essential to other professions, and learning to conduct meetings and bring value to the table is a learned skill. Up-skilling for this job saves time, effort, and money. Considering that bookkeeping and code writing are carefully cultivated and developed through many years of education and training, you can see it makes more sense that managers shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves. This is true with all critical aspects of their jobs, including meetings.
As for managers, whether new or with experience, if your firm does not train for meeting skills, your company’s investment in top management and leader may not return the benefits you are hoping for.
Image Credit: Werner P. Fennig; Pexels; Thank you!