How to Run a Staff Meeting
One of my favorite things in our Next Level Leadership® group coaching program is when the high potential participants come together in the fourth session to debrief each other on their Executive Shadow Days. Before they show up for a day of coaching on Organizational Presence, they spend a day shadowing a senior executive in their organization. During their shadow day they do whatever the executive does. They go to their meetings, sit in on their calls and attend their presentations. The debriefs are always full of interesting stories and insights.
In a recent session four debrief, I took a couple of pages of notes on executive best practices that our participants observed on their shadow days. I’ll be writing a few posts on those notes in the weeks to come. Today’s topic is how to run a staff meeting.
When you’re a manager, staff meetings can be a tedious fact of life. Too often, they’re aimless, pointless and de-energizing. Why? Because there’s often a lot of grand-standing, ass-covering and pontificating.
Here’s how one senior exec avoids all of that:
The conventional wisdom is that the senior exec should open the staff meeting with a review of the agenda and perhaps some remarks about priorities, what’s happened since the last meeting or a review of key metrics. The executive the high potential shadowed opened instead with the round robin of check-in’s from his direct reports. Each of them followed the same format. They:
- Shared information others needed to know
- Asked for information they needed to know
- Gave status updates on key projects
My group coaching client was really impressed and asked the exec why he ran the meeting the way he did. His response (paraphrased here) was, “These people are good and are top of their issues. By having them go first, I’m able to respond to their issues rather than direct them. They don’t need to be directed anyway.”
Clearly, this exec believes that you can learn more by listening than by talking. He’s structured his staff meetings to leverage that philosophy.
What do you think? What difference would it make to run your staff meetings like this? What other advice do you have for running a good staff meeting? What are the pitfalls that should be avoided at all costs?