You’re sitting with a group of people who trust you, who are capable, and who know that you want them to come up with a solution to a problem. And they really do want to please you.
So you ask them to come up with a solution, and you get nothing but the sound of rustling papers and shifting bodies.
Why aren’t they saying anything?
Your communication skills as a leader must extend beyond keeping the team informed and being clear about your requirements. The right words used at the right time can save many a situation, including where the team are suddenly shy and quiet.
Have you ever been driving along, on a stretch of road that you’ve driven a million times, and you suddenly realise you’re drifting into oncoming traffic, so with heart pounding, you swerve back into your own lane and curse your inattention and lack of focus?
That’s exactly what happened to me the other day, except it wasn’t due to a lack of focus. In fact, I was focusing quite intently. It’s just that I was focusing on one specific thing, and it wasn’t the road.
In his forbes.com article entitled “10 Leadership Lessons from the IBM Executive School,” author August Turak refers to a highly successful executive he knows who offers cash rewards to anyone in his company who can prove him wrong.
That’s one brave executive.
Facing the facts isn’t easy, especially when the truth is that you were wrong. A computer programmer friend of mine once made a programming error that erased critical data in a live system. Once she realised what she had done, she went to the meeting room where her boss was, sheepishly knocked on the door, and told her boss what had happened. After the problem was resolved, my friend watched her boss walk towards her desk and she expected the worst.
Have you ever longed to do something really well, but never got off the blocks because you didn’t know how, and figured that you’d never be able to do it anyway?
I recently swallowed my pride, my fear, and the belief that I was not (and never would be) a swimmer and signed up for a private one-on-one session with an instructor at the local pool. The result? I swam a full 25 metre lap without stopping for the first time in my life – after only ever having that one 15 minute lesson.
Imagine how you will feel after you have triumphed over the one thing that’s getting between you and your ideal vision of the meetings you would love to lead. Learning to lead meetings well is like learning to swim – with the right advice, it’s easier than you might think.
Here are the 7 things I learned about improving skills quickly and setting yourself up for success.
Want to spend less time in meetings?
Studies show that managers and leaders spend 40-50% of their working hours in meetings and that as much as 50% of that time is wasted.
Do you remember being in meetings that promised to be fast, but left you furious because the meeting wasn’t getting anywhere and you had a million other things you could be doing? Pulling a group of busy professionals into unproductive meetings is like buying a luxury sports car and driving it around a car park in second gear.
So here are 5 ways for you to keep your meetings tight and on track.