Are meetings driving your employees mad? Here are 7 steps to improve them.
We love to hate meetings. We groan about how an- noying they are. We crack jokes about how much time gets wasted, about bureaucracy run amok.
But it’s not really a laughing matter.
Poorly run meetings can sap the lifeblood out of an organization. Not only are they mentally draining, but they
can leave sta; disengaged and demoralized, experts say.
On average, o;ce workers spend 21 percent of their
time in meetings and feel 25 percent of it is wasted, according to the results of a recent survey of 1,000 employees by Accountemps. One of the top complaints was that
meetings are called to relay information that could have
been communicated via e-mail.
Managers are also dissatis;ed. In a Harvard Business
School study last year, researchers found that 71 percent of
the 182 senior managers interviewed said meetings were
unproductive and ine;cient, and 65 percent said meetings
kept them from completing their work.
Fortunately, leaders can help improve how meetings
are run. Indeed, their behavior is critical to achieving
better results and a more positive outlook and engagement from employees, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational
Studies. In an earlier University of North Carolina study,
researchers found a link between how workers feel about
the e;ectiveness of meetings and their job satisfaction.
Other studies have found that dysfunctional communication in team meetings can have a negative impact on
team productivity and the organization’s success.
What happens in these gatherings is a re;ection of the
workplace culture, experts say.
“It gets down to identity and performance,” says J. Elise
Keith, co-founder of Lucid Meetings in Portland, Ore., and
author of Where the Action Is (Second Rise, 2018). “The
way in which an organization runs its meetings determines
how it views itself.”
“Bad meetings are almost always a symptom of deeper
issues,” Keith notes in her book.
Unfortunately, many business leaders don’t receive
adequate training on how to manage or facilitate meetings,
she says. “I believe that a lot of leaders have bought into the
idea that poor meetings are inevitable.”
Here are 7 steps to making the time employees spend
together more meaningful:
1. Prepare. Are you clear on the meeting’s purpose?
What is your desired outcome? How will you achieve that?
More prep time is typically devoted to senior-lev-el meetings compared to those held for individuals in
lower-level positions, says Paul Axtell, a corporate trainer
and author of Meetings Matter (Jackson Creek, 2015).
He says that executive get-togethers are more e;ective
“because people take them seriously.” I L L U S
By Dori Meinert