Effective supervisors lead effective meetings. Unfortunately, many workplace professionals are not mindful as to the amount of time they spend on ineffective meetings. Also, we transition from one meeting to the next, often without truly understanding or reflecting on their significance.
But, it’s high time to change this viewpoint and recognize the pivotal role that meetings play.
Why Are Meetings Important?
While most consider meetings a routine part of work, many overlook the underlying significance they hold. How many times have we left a meeting room only to wonder, “Why was I even there?” or “What did we achieve?”
Meetings, when properly executed, serve as a compass, giving teams the direction they need. They help identify what needs to be done and by whom, ensuring tasks are executed smoothly.
Without clear communication in meetings, multiple members might end up working on the same task. By making meetings more efficient, tasks can be delegated clearly, preventing such overlap
A good meeting promotes team spirit. When everyone is updated and knows their roles, collaboration becomes more fluid, leading to better results.
When conducted with purpose and structure, meetings can be grounds for innovation. They can become platforms where ideas are brainstormed, refined, and then executed.
Challenges are part and parcel of any project. Meetings provide an avenue for teams to address these challenges collectively, finding solutions that benefit the project.
Structured meetings ensure that quality is maintained across projects. Regular check-ins and updates allow supervisors to ensure that everything is up to the mark.
Peace of Mind
When meetings are transparent and inclusive, they foster a sense of trust among team members.
Efficient meetings reduce the scope for misunderstandings. When objectives and tasks are clear, the chances of conflicts arising are minimized.
Positive and productive meetings contribute to a positive work culture. They give team members a sense of purpose and achievement.
The Cost of Ineffective Meetings
A study by Atlassian highlighted that employees spend almost 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings. This is nearly an entire week’s worth of work lost to ineffective discussions!
Poorly structured meetings can lead to the same task being assigned to multiple individuals, causing redundancy and wasted efforts.
Continuous unproductive meetings can wear down team morale. Members may feel their time is not being respected or utilized well.
In meetings without a clear agenda, the main objective often gets sidetracked, leading to a loss of focus on core tasks.
Repetitive, aimless meetings can become sources of frustration, decreasing overall workplace satisfaction.
Inefficient meetings aren’t just a waste of time; they are also a waste of resources. Think about the combined hourly rate of all the participants in a pointless meeting!
When meetings lack clarity and structure, decisions made can often be ill-informed, leading to repercussions down the line.
It’s essential for supervisors and managers to realize this and hone their skills to make each meeting count. Through upskilling, we can make meetings more than just a routine – they can be platforms of innovation, clarity, and progress.
Case Study: The Meeting That Never Ended
Background: A medium-sized company recently promoted Sarah, a bright and enthusiastic young professional, to the position of Supervisor. As part of her new role, Sarah was tasked with leading weekly meetings to ensure that the team’s objectives were on track. Eager to make a difference and showcase her leadership skills, Sarah convened her first meeting.
- Sarah – The new Supervisor, eager to lead and make her mark.
- Ben – A veteran employee resistant to change, has seen many supervisors come and go.
- Anita – The detail-oriented team member who needs to understand every facet of a problem.
- Carlos – Distracted easily, enjoys talking about things unrelated to work.
- Tasha – The quiet one, often feels overlooked but has valuable insights.
- Update on current projects’ status.
- Allocate resources for the upcoming quarter.
- Brainstorm solutions for a declining sales trend.
- AOB (Any Other Business)
Sarah: “Good morning everyone! Today’s meeting should be quick. We have four items on our agenda. Let’s start with updates on our current projects. Ben?”
Ben (sighing): “Well, like I’ve told the last three supervisors, our process hasn’t changed. We’re still working with the same old software, so progress is slow.”
Sarah: “Thank you for your update, Ben. Let’s keep things constructive. Anita, any updates?”
Anita: “Yes, about Project X, I need to understand why we’ve chosen the current marketing approach over the alternative. Also, I’ve found a few research papers that might help, and I think it’s essential we go over them.”
Carlos, whispering to Ben: “Did you catch the game last night? That final shot was—”
Ben, shushing him: “Not now.”
Sarah, trying to redirect: “Thanks, Anita. We can discuss that offline. Carlos, update?”
Carlos (startled): “Oh! Yes, I think we’re good on resources, but I was wondering, why don’t we have a ping pong table in the break room? Other companies have it, and it’s great for stress.”
Anita: “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I think we should seriously consider those papers I mentioned.”
Sarah: “Okay, let’s try to stay on track. Tasha, any insights on the declining sales?”
Tasha, hesitatingly: “I’ve noticed a pattern in the data that—”
Carlos: “You know, speaking of sales, I heard a joke about a salesman. Want to hear?”
Ben, smirking: “Let’s hear it!”
Sarah, visibly frustrated: “Guys, we need to stick to the agenda!”
The meeting continues, with interruptions, tangents, and extended discussions on minor issues. The 15-minute mark passes, and it becomes evident that the core objectives will not be achieved within the time frame.
If you were a supervisor reading the above case, identify what went wrong during Sarah’s meeting. Consider the following:
- How might Sarah have better managed interruptions and kept the team on track?
- What could Sarah have done before the meeting to ensure everyone was prepared?
- How should Sarah handle the different personalities and interests of her team members in future meetings?
Using the case study above, reflect on how you might improve your own meetings, ensuring they are efficient and effective. Remember, an effective meeting is not just about following the agenda but ensuring every team member is aligned with the objectives and feels heard.