Do your meetings destroy morale? Do your staff members suffer a slow “death by meeting?” Meetings, whether face-to-face or electronic, are entrenched in business culture. We feel we need to keep people informed, and solicit input, feedback and buy-in. We feel meetings build morale. But do they? Are your meetings building morale or tearing down your team?
Well-structured and well-run meetings can produce significant benefits.
- Stakeholders are informed
- Input and buy-in can be solicited
- Activity can be coordinated
- Communication can be efficient
- Staff can be empowered and energized
On the other hand, poorly conceived meetings can be devastating.
- Staff can be frustrated and see the meetings as a waste of time
- Information shared can be seen as irrelevant
- Team-building efforts can be resented
- Leaders can be perceived as arrogant and/or clueless
- Enthusiasm can be drained and morale suffer
So how do you create productive meetings that bolster morale?
- Keep meetings short. There is a limit to the active attention span.
- Start on time, end on time.
- Invite only the individuals who need to be there. Don’t waste the time of others.
- Distribute the agenda, backup documents and findings in advance.
- Encourage review of items and preliminary responses before the meeting.
- Have a timed agenda and stick to it. If an item legitimately runs over, omit another item.
- Don’t ramble. Know the key points, and stick to them.
- Keep discussions on topic.
- Solicit input from all members, especially the quiet ones.
- Don’t meet without a legitimate need.
- Keep a record of discussions, assignments, deadlines and decisions.
- Hold members accountable for assignments
- Don’t expect team-building exercises to boost morale. If morale is low, forcing friendliness is not going to help.
Meetings can create buy-in, or indifference. They can be the highlight of the week, or a dreaded, resented drag on enthusiasm and morale. Keep meetings productive and relevant. Build efficiency and effectiveness. Don’t let your meetings destroy morale.