Leading through meetings



Leading and managing organisations invariably involves meetings – probably more than you want. But meetings are a great opportunity to add value through leadership – or to destroy it. The impact depends on the way you respond to other people contributions.

Consider the following[1], possibly well meant, responses and decide what it feels like to be John or Joanna on the receiving end:

  • “We don’t need all the details Joanna, just give us the bottom line.”
  • “Well, John, let me bring you up to speed.”
  • “There might be something in what you say….”
  • “Sounds interesting Joanna – can you write a paper on it for the next meeting?”
  • “If I can put it another way for you John….’
  • “I can see where you’re coming from….”
  • “Hey Joanna, we all think you do a fantastic job; brilliant skills and superlative report!”

Nothing noxious, just a bit dismissive, slightly superior, and potentially demotivating. Even the last example, although full of praise, will be unbelievable to all but the least discerning.

And yet, we’ve probably all used these or similar phrases at times in the name of efficiency, protection, helpfulness, politeness, and so on, but likely to have been fuelled by irritation.

The brilliant opportunity is to find ways of using your irritation to create direction, to reinforce values and ideals, or to get someone engaged. How? As the Children’s Laureate, broadcaster and poet, Michael Rosen put it in a recent interview[2]:

You just need to be “endlessly curious”.

If you assume you’re right, it’s hard to be curious, and more likely to be irritated.

[1] Stimulated by a piece from Gretchen Rubin, LinkedIn, 3 Sept 2014

[2] ‘Michael Rosen: Why curiosity is the key to life’, by Sabine Durrant, Guardian, 6 September 2014


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