It’s time for the monthly team meeting. You have a heavy heart if you’re honest. You love your team, and they really do get great results on the job, but meetings are such hard work. You’re struggling to get people to engage, and you leave the meeting feeling a sense of defeat. Just before kicking off, you look around the room.
It’s the same old thing every time. ‘Detonator Dan’ sits at the end of the table, leaning back with a glint in his eye, waiting for his moment to throw in the killer comment that he knows will provoke people and make emotions run amok. He loves it the sly fox! This in turn eggs on ‘Teflon Tess’, who always sits next to Dan and enjoys the opportunity to gang up with him.
The all round good sport that is Mohammed is full of energy and enthusiasm, and he does his best to champion all initiatives and projects. He’s much liked on the team, because he’s REALLY keen. The trouble is that he does talk…a lot. It is one of his superpowers, and once he’s got the floor…man, he OWNS it!
Tobias really struggles in meetings, because he is a real people person. He just wants everyone to be happy and feels for his quieter team mates. He’s seen their tense body language in previous meetings. He tries to bring them in, but to no avail. Sheri is the same and she and Tobias have struck up a bit of an allegiance about it and talk about it quite a lot over coffee. They both dread the meetings where it all kicks off and people start arguing. They agree that those are the worst ones.
In a bid to revive things, you’ve been experimenting with having virtual meetings, which have been really well received…well, by some of the team, in fact all the introverts are really happy about it. They’d long since disengaged with meetings, because all the noisy lot who always sit in prominent positions, basically talking over one another non-stop and there never seems to be a gap for them to offer their thoughts, so they’ve given up. They’ve realised the benefits of online meetings mean they can have their camera and sound switched off, and they can get on with their emails in peace.
Dev is quite new. He’s been watching all this behaviour, and is confused. Why aren’t you, his boss managing this better? Nobody is particularly malicious, even Dan…he just gets a bit bored so wants to spice things up a bit, and Tess is insecure and looks for opportunities to deflect by blaming others, but Dev sits at the desk next to her, and he thinks she’s alright. You’ve just got to get to know her.
He mused on this after one particularly long and heated meeting. Actually, that is one of the problems, he thought. They just go on so bloody long. Nobody has ever read the agenda (no wonder, it’s as long as War and Peace). And they’re boring…to the point where he noticed Gina actually nodded off after agenda item 12. After the meeting, he overheard Tobias and Sheri talking in the canteen…’What’s the point? Nothing ever changes as a result of these meetings, it’s just same old, same old. They’re a waste of time.’
Dev comes to see you to offer you his thoughts on the matter. You’ve always had a ‘my door is always open’ policy, but even so it was a bit of a shock when someone actually did it! Even more of a shock was hearing him tentatively suggest that the meetings could be better. Actually, you were a bit hurt by that, and once upon a time that would have triggered your stubborn streak, and you probably wouldn’t have listened.
However, you know it…he’s touched a nerve, and you’re not a bad boss. It’s just that this is how you’ve always seen meetings done, so you’ve never thought to run them any differently. Intrigued, you say to Dev, ‘Sit down, tell me more…I’m listening’.
To be continued…
If you want a sneak preview of what Dev shares, there will be an opportunity to join a free webinar on 9 December, 4-5pm (GMT) details will be shared in my LinkedIn feed.
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