If you really want to pay better attention to what is going on in your team, stop running your own virtual meetings. It’s almost impossible to run a meeting, manage an agenda, present ideas, and also pay attention to group dynamics.
1. If you create the agenda, you have a vested interest in pushing it through and will probably miss meaningful clues about others’ agendas and goals—which may be as important as yours.
2. If you are working to summarize key points and check understanding so the team can move on, it’s tough to listen openly to ideas and perspectives that don’t fit nicely into your plan.
3. When you facilitate every meeting, it may communicate to attendees that they can be passive and participate only on occasion, when needed.
4. If you do most of the talking, it’s easy to miss subtle clues like vocal tone, hesitation when speaking, or careful choice of words. This deeper listening takes great inner silence and focus.
Instead of running your own meetings, focus on being a great process observer.
This helps you anticipate problems and concerns in the team, react early and thoughtfully to conflicts and challenges, as well as take advantage of opportunities to build team spirit.
Certainly you have agenda items to add, but try delegating this responsibility to your team members. Let them set the agenda and facilitate the meeting. This way:
- You learn what is important to your team. Although their agenda may not align with yours, theirs probably includes items you hadn’t considered.
- When team members create and manage your team meeting, you are more likely to get new ideas and perspectives.
- When team members alternate meeting leadership, it develops their skills and increases their commitment to the team and its work.
Most importantly, when you allow others to facilitate your team meetings, you can lean back to observe what is really going on instead of having to constantly lean forward to push the agenda.
Delegate the facilitation of your next team meeting. You’ll be surprised at what you see and hear when you focus your attention on the dynamics of building a healthy team.
About the author
Carmela Sperlazza Southers is a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies who specializes in increasing organizational, team, and leader effectiveness in the virtual work world.