A leader recognises the importance of an effective team meeting and focuses on the energy and benefits that it can bring. A team meeting can result in problem resolution, idea generation, empowerment and increased staff engagement. It is just one tool you can use to develop and grow a better team.
Ensure your meetings are effective
You can ensure your team meetings are effective by:
- Being clear who the “team” is. May be obvious, however, sometimes this isn’t just about direct reports. Are there support functions whose presence at the meeting may be useful such as finance, logistics, marketing, HR? Whilst these roles may not fall under your direct management, if their function has a direct impact on the achievement of targets and goals, invite them along.
- Setting the ground rules. It is a meeting – not a chat, or catch up. As the leader you need to treat it with formality and respect, which will encourage buy-in and commitment from the team.
- Location – You wouldn’t meet with your suppliers or customers to negotiate targets and deadlines at the coffee machine, so don’t treat your team that way. Book an appropriate space.
- Papers – ask for input into an agenda in advance and issue some form of record following the meeting even if just bulleted action points on email.
- Process – have ground rules, clear terms of reference, and manage to time – as you would any other meeting.
- Chair – every meeting needs a formal Chair but in a team meeting this doesn’t necessarily need to be the team leader. Why not rotate and give others the opportunity to practice chairing skills in a safe environment? Team meetings are often the first meeting employees will attend so make sure you are setting the expectation of how meetings should be treated and managed.
- Lead – a team meeting needs strong leadership. As the leader, you need to be clear on what you want to achieve and measure the results. Even if you are not the Chair, you can still lead the process.
- Outcomes – you need clear outcomes, which are timed, owned and followed through. The meeting must add value and be driven by your strategic goals.
- Strategic goals – as mentioned, these need to drive your agenda and purpose. Maybe have a board that is in the room as a reminder of annual targets and goals, and have a visual display of how the teamwork plan is working towards the organisation’s strategic goals.
- Frequency – agree with the team what an appropriate frequency is to maximise value. The optimum frequency will depend on your team, organisation structure and industry.
- Development – as well as core agenda business, think about including a skill development topic each month or session. This could be a 5 minute “expert” session by one of the team members to improve awareness of a particular function, or it could be a general business skill development opportunity such as time management tips, or an interesting blog that a team member has read (such as this one perhaps!) Invite guest speakers perhaps but keep this section short and focused.
- Discussion and problem solving – not briefing and sharing information. If the boss uses every team meeting to share senior briefings, or “preach”, everyone will turn off and consider the meeting to be a waste of time: this communication should happen regardless of a team meeting. Involve everyone around the table and make the time productive. Encourage people to bring solutions to the table and brainstorm.
- Positive attitude – this starts with you, as the manager and leader. The meeting needs to be considered by all as of value, of fun, of interest. If the team feels that way, the result will be value, fun and interest!
- Acknowledge and celebrate success – whether you have a formal “star of the month” system or whether it is a note as an agenda item, use the opportunity to praise and acknowledge achievements.
If you follow these tips the result will be an effective and productive meeting which develops collaboration, forward-thinking and a strong, empowered team.
If you need help reviewing and improving your team meetings or implementing these strategies, we would be happy to provide the HR support and advice needed. Here at MAD-HR we provide a variety of ad-hoc HR services, along with HR strategic development and are always happy to discuss how we can help support your business growth. Give us a call on 01473 360160 to find out more.