The time that a leader spends with their team is the most crucial time that happens in an organization. The information that is discussed in the meetings and the decisions that are made have far-reaching impacts for both the employees and the organization. Wise leaders enhance their leadership by mastering meetings, both one-on-one meetings and team meetings.
Unfortunately, many businesses have unproductive and unsuccessful meetings. A meeting that is lacking purpose and that is poorly run becomes a distraction and an unempowering event; on the other hand, a productive meeting can lead to breakthroughs.
Every business and organization conducts some form of meetings. However, does your organization have the right meetings at the right times? Too many leaders treat every meeting the same, but in reality, there are at least five different types of meetings that every organization needs to regularly hold and that the CEO needs to master.
5 meetings that are critical for your company and that you, as the leader, must master
CEOs and managers who schedule a plethora of meetings often think they are productive when, in reality, they are not. Meetings do not make an organization effective; effective meetings make an organization effective.
In fact, organizations and leaders lose effectiveness by holding ineffective and unproductive meetings. Employees lose interest and become disengaged and frustrated with the information that is being shared or covered in the meeting. Additionally, when teams are frequently engaged in unproductive meetings, it prevents employees from doing the productive work that is required to build a thriving organization.
Effective organizations and leaders conduct five types of meetings. And because there is a clear purpose behind each type of meeting, employees are more productive, teams are more focused and the organization can achieve better overall results.
1. Accountability meetings
The most productive meetings are purposeful. Team members understand the purpose of the meeting and the information that should be shared in the meeting.
Accountability meetings serve as a way for clarity to be enhanced and for team members to be in agreement on projects and tasks so things get done on time and under budget. If you are uncomfortable with the term “accountability,” call them “clarity” meetings instead. Teams and organizations need clarity to succeed.
Every great leader should establish accountability/clarity meetings where they have an opportunity to see how well a team member or a task force is completing their assignment and resolve roadblocks. These meetings can be brief, but they must be scheduled at regular times throughout a task or project. Meetings can be a quick stand-up or brief check-in where employees share key updates or issues that are essential to the success of the project.
Accountability/clarity meetings can be weekly, or if a task or project is urgent, they can be held daily. These meetings don’t have to be long, perhaps 30 minutes. The purpose behind these quick check-ins is to allow for a team’s time and energy to be channeled on completing or troubleshooting critical portions of the project or task and not to dilute those efforts with a long, unfocused, unproductive meeting.
2. Inspirational meetings
People need encouragement. Every CEO and leader should consider themselves the chief encouragement officer of their company. Work can be difficult and laborious, and for people (and teams) to do their best, they need encouragement and support regularly. Leaders often neglect encouraging others. Companies that want to inspire employees to do their best work schedule inspirational meetings with their teams.
The leader who makes it a priority to inspire their teams is often the leader who improves the performance of the organization. It’s hard to execute poorly when the team is inspired. CEOs and leaders often want employees to be self-motivated, and good employees are self-motivated, but even the most self-motivated, driven employee needs to hear words of praise and encouragement from the CEO.
Inspirational meetings can be quarterly, and they can be 30 minutes in length. If your team is on the verge of burnout or you’re experiencing an intensely stressful time in the organization, perhaps you want to hold these meetings monthly to breathe life back into the organization and employees.
3. Exploratory meetings
Leaders who desire new breakthroughs for their organization hold exploratory meetings where new ideas can be openly discussed. There is an old proverb that states, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.”
Preparing well for exploratory meetings is critical. Tasks such as sending out a meeting agenda, helping employees understand the goal of what problem the team is trying to solve (or the product that is to be produced), and allowing plenty of advance time for employees to brainstorm ideas, go a long way toward producing great results.
People often have great ideas but need one person who believes in them (without the fear of judgment) to bring out those ideas. The impactful leader can empower individuals and teams by asking for their involvement in solving problems and creating solutions that the leader would have never discovered on their own.
Exploratory meetings don’t have to be conducted frequently. Depending on your organization, perhaps a biannual schedule is optimal. This frequency can be increased when smaller teams are tasked with developing and implementing new solutions or processes. A suggested duration for exploratory meetings may be three hours.
4. Educational meetings
Leaders often have to disperse information, and a wise strategy is to do that in a group setting rather than individually. A group meeting allows employees to process critical information at the same time. These educational, informational sessions are important for the leader because the CEO doesn’t have to repeat information. Another benefit is that it prevents misinformation from being dispersed throughout the organization. Group settings also allow for good Q-and-A sessions. Usually, more than one person has the same question.
Companies should regularly conduct educational meetings – perhaps as a Monday morning kickoff meeting or as a midweek update. The frequency can be increased when more information needs to be communicated to keep teams moving to complete a project or if your organization is implementing a significant change. These meetings don’t have to be long – 15 minutes in many cases is sufficient.
5. Mentoring meetings
An effective leader schedules blocks of time with key people for one-on-one strategic sessions to enhance clarity, discover ideas, create synergy, and build cohesiveness and collaboration.
Every successful leader who is looking to develop a good succession plan should be focused on mentoring and training the next-level leaders in their organization. Too many leaders expect growth from their team members but never do anything to help them grow.
Often leaders feel like no one in the organization has a big enough vision or understands various aspects of how the business is performing or not performing. A CEO can feel isolated from their manager with their ideas, dreams, desires, and tasks, and as a result, they can adopt a solitary leadership style.
Effective leaders who have built successful enterprises have learned the art of bringing others along by engaging them with strategic sessions so they can understand what the leader wants and know where the leader is taking the organization.
A suggested frequency for mentoring meetings could be monthly or on a schedule that aligns with the CEO’s calendar. These meetings can last one hour with a clearly defined agenda that includes the key information or concepts to be discussed.
Every organization has meetings. Some succeed with their meetings; others do not. The organization that hopes to grow focuses on making its meetings meaningful and effective, and the leader who seeks to empower their team enhances their leadership by mastering these five types of meetings.