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Great Leaders Remember to Offer These 10 Things All The Time

Great Leaders Remember to Offer These 10 Things All The Time

Want to be a great leader? Fantastic! Great leadership is learned behavior. You can be a great leader just like any you have ever seen. Only remember to offer your team these 10 key things great leaders offer all the time.

1. Remember to offer leadership by example.

The hallmark of a great leader is leading by example. Practice what you preach. Your actions can be a powerful source of motivation or demoralization to the team. Be mindful and let your actions send the message that you believe in your own directives. Remember teams create a work ethic that imitates their leader’s work ethic.

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2. Remember to offer opportunities for growth.

We all want to learn new things and grow and develop in our jobs. Great leaders know this and offer opportunities for growth and development all the time. Be the first to create and/or point out areas for growth, depending on prevailing circumstances, individual interests and skill requirements. This will not only motivate your team to apply themselves, but also ensure no one stops growing or becomes extraneous.

3. Remember to offer positive energy and inspiration. 

Great leaders create a positive and inspiring work environment and culture all the time. These leaders use their executive presence not to threaten or intimidate, but to encourage positive thinking and attitude at work. Offer this positive energy and inspiration by encouraging everyone to be themselves and freely voice their opinions and suggestions without fear of reprimand. You will earn the team’s respect and boost their overall productivity, innovation and job satisfaction this way.

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4. Remember to offer continuous (and constructive) feedback.

Great leaders remember to offer continuous and constructive feedback all the time. Feedback shows the team the leader cares and is paying attention. It also helps build and improve other people’s strengths and abilities. Give constructive feedback continuously without resulting to personal attacks. It will earn you respect, trust and performance.

5. Remember to offer kindness and consideration.

Kindness begets kindness. If you offer kindness to those you lead, they will in turn offer kindness to those they work with and serve, including clients and fellow employees. Great leaders know this and use kindness to build a healthy and productive work environment for all. Be kind and considerate to your team even when they screw up. Don’t be harsh and bashing them too much, otherwise they will hate you and their job for it.

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6. Remember to offer patience and sanity.

Great leaders are patient and encourage their team to also exercise patience. They remind the team patience is a virtue because many projects will take time to develop and complete. Sometimes it will take more than 24 hours to find an answer to a single problem. Instead of being agitated and angry, let the team come together, brainstorm and agree upon reasonable solutions and time expectations. This will maintain harmony and bring sanity in the team.

7. Remember to offer fun and humor.

Laughter is medicine to the soul. It strengthens bonds and can heal deep seated resentment in the workplace. Great leaders use both laughter and humor to defuse tension and encourage creativity. They offer moments of fun and humor all the time because these moments often make stressful and challenging situations seem less daunting. Organize fun activities for your team and let those who can crack ribs do so freely to put things into a humorous perspective. Of course, this should all be done within the boundaries of proper ethics and mutual respect.

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8. Remember to offer order and respect.

People achieve more where there is a clear course of action characterized by order and respect. Great leaders, therefore, offer order and respect all the time. They make everyone feel valued and their skills and knowledge required for success. They extend basic courtesies like friendly greetings to everyone from the cleaning person to the top executives because they respect them. Treat everyone like an adult and don’t try to micromanage and dictate to them. Respect their personalities, judgment and knowledge and they will feel obliged to make their individual input count.

9. Remember to offer help and encouragement.

Great leaders are proud to offer support and encouragement to their team. They help whenever they can and encourage those they lead to keep moving and not give up because they genuinely care. Offer help and encouragement with a cheerful heart whenever your team is feeling down. Remind everyone why you have faith in them and why they are the best for the task, especially when you notice people are running out of energy. Just be that listening ear and helping hand your team needs.

10. Remember to offer praise and gratitude.

Great leaders remember to praise and express their gratitude for the efforts others make on their behalf. They know they would not be the leader they are without the people they are privileged to lead. As a result, great leaders humbly offer gratitude and praise all the time. Praise is an acknowledgement of positive deeds. Say “thank you” even for small things like someone holding the door for you. This reinforces positive behavior and proves you appreciate. Don’t be afraid to hold the door for others, as well. Those little, thoughtful things are the marks of a truly great leader.

Featured photo credit: MDGovpics via flickr.com

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on September 30, 2019

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

Minutes are a written record of a board, company, or organizational meeting. Meeting minutes are considered a legal document, so when writing them, strive for clarity and consistency of tone.

Because minutes are a permanent record of the meeting, be sure to proofread them well before sending. It is a good idea to run them by a supervisor or seasoned attendee to make sure statements and information are accurately captured.

The best meeting minutes takers are careful listeners, quick typists, and are adequately familiar with the meeting topics and attendees. The note taker must have a firm enough grasp of the subject matter to be able to separate the important points from the noise in what can be long, drawn-out discussions. And, importantly, the note taker should not simultaneously lead and take notes. (If you’re ever asked to do so, decline.)

Following, are some step-by-step hints to effectively write meeting minutes:

1. Develop an Agenda

Work with the Chairperson or Board President to develop a detailed agenda.

Meetings occur for a reason, and the issues to be addressed and decided upon need to be listed to alert attendees. Work with the convener to draft an agenda that assigns times to each topic to keep the meeting moving and to make sure the group has enough time to consider all items.

The agenda will serve as your outline for the meeting minutes. Keep the minutes’ headings consistent with the agenda topics for continuity.

2. Follow a Template from Former Minutes Taken

If you are new to a Board or organization, and are writing minutes for the first time, ask to see the past meeting minutes so that you can maintain the same format.

Generally, the organization name or the name of the group that is meeting goes at the top: “Meeting of the Board of Directors of XYZ,” with the date on the next line. After the date, include both the time the meeting came to order and the time the meeting ended.

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Most groups who meet do so regularly, with set agenda items at each meeting. Some groups include a Next Steps heading at the end of the minutes that lists projects to follow up on and assigns responsibility.

A template from a former meeting will also help determine whether or not the group records if a quorum was met, and other items specific to the organization’s meeting minutes.

3. Record Attendance

On most boards, the Board Secretary is the person responsible for taking the meeting minutes. In organizational meetings, the minutes taker may be a project coordinator or assistant to a manager or CEO. She or he should arrive a few minutes before the meeting begins and pass around an attendance sheet with all members’ names and contact information.

Meeting attendees will need to check off their names and make edits to any changes in their information. This will help as both a back-up document of attendees and ensure that information goes out to the most up-to-date email addresses.

All attendees’ names should be listed directly below the meeting name and date, under a subheading that says “Present.” List first and last names of all attendees, along with title or affiliation, separated by a comma or semi-colon.

If a member of the Board could not attend the meeting, cite his or her name after the phrase: “Copied To:” There may be other designations in the participants’ list. For example, if several of the meeting attendees are members of the staff while everyone else is a volunteer, you may want to write (Staff) after each staff member.

As a general rule, attendees are listed alphabetically by their last names. However, in some organizations, it’s a best practice to list the leadership of the Board first. In that case, the President or Co-Presidents would be listed first, followed by the Vice President, followed by the Secretary, and then by the Treasurer. Then all other names of attendees would be alphabetized by last name.

It is also common practice to note if a participant joined the meeting via conference call. This can be indicated by writing: “By Phone” and listing the participants who called in.

4. Naming Convention

Generally, the first time someone speaks in the meeting will include his or her name and often the title.

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For example, “President of the XYZ Board, Roger McGowan, called the meeting to order.” The next time Roger McGowan speaks, though, you can simply refer to him as “Roger.” If there are two Rogers in the meeting, use an initial for their last names to separate the two. “Roger M. called for a vote. Roger T. abstained.”

5. What, and What Not, to Include

Depending on the nature of the meeting, it could last from one to several hours. The attendees will be asked to review and then approve the meeting minutes. Therefore, you don’t want the minutes to extend into a lengthy document.

Capturing everything that people say verbatim is not only unnecessary, but annoying to reviewers.

For each agenda item, you ultimately want to summarize only the relevant points of the discussion along with any decisions made. After the meeting, cull through your notes, making sure to edit out any circular or repetitive arguments and only leave in the relevant points made.

6. Maintain a Neutral Tone

Minutes are a legal document. They are used to establish an organization’s historical record of activity. It is essential to maintain an even, professional tone. Never put inflammatory language in the minutes, even if the language of the meeting becomes heated.

You want to record the gist of the discussion objectively, which means mentioning the key points covered without assigning blame. For example, “The staff addressed board members’ questions regarding the vendor’s professionalism.”

Picture a lawyer ten years down the road reading the minutes to find evidence of potential wrongdoing. You wouldn’t want an embellishment in the form of a colorful adverb or a quip to cloud any account of what took place. Here’s a list of neutral sounding words to get started with.

7. Record Votes

The primary purpose of minutes is to record any votes a board or organization takes. Solid record-keeping requires mentioning which participant makes a motion — and what the motion states verbatim — and which participant seconds the motion.

For example, “Vice President Cindy Jacobsen made a motion to dedicate 50 percent, or $50,000, of the proceeds from the ZZZ Foundation gift to the CCC scholarship fund. President Roger McGowan seconded the motion.”

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This vote tabulation should be expressed in neutral language as well. “The Board voted unanimously to amend the charter in the following way,” or “The decision to provide $1,000 to the tree-planting effort passed 4 to 1, with Board President McGowan opposing.”

Most Boards try to get a vote passed unanimously. Sometimes in order to help the Board attain a more cohesive outcome, a Board member may abstain from voting. “The motion passed 17 to 1 with one absension.”

8. Pare down Notes Post-Meeting

Following the meeting, read through your notes while all the discussions remain fresh in your mind, and make any needed revisions. Then, pare the meeting minutes down to their essentials, providing a brief account of the discussion that summarizes arguments made for and against a decision.

People often speak colloquially or in idioms, as in: “This isn’t even in the ballpark” or “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.” While you may be tempted to keep the exact language in the minutes to add color, resist.

Additionally, if any presentations are part of the meeting, do not include information from the Powerpoint in the minutes. However, you will want to record the key points from the post-presentation discussion.

9. Proofread with Care

Make sure that you spelled all names correctly, inserted the correct date of the meeting, and that your minutes read clearly.

Spell out acronyms the first time they’re used. Remember that the notes may be reviewed by others for whom the acronyms are unfamiliar. Stay consistent in headings, punctuation, and formatting. The minutes should be polished and professional.

10. Distribute Broadly

Once approved, email minutes to the full board — not just the attendees — for review. Your minutes will help keep those who were absent apprised of important actions and decisions.

At the start of the next meeting, call for the approval of the minutes. Note any revisions. Try to work out the agreed-upon changes in the meeting, so that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on revisions.

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Ask for a motion to approve the minutes with the agreed-upon changes. Once an attendee offers a motion, ask for another person in the meeting to “second” the motion. They say, “All approved.” Always ask if there is anyone who does not approve. Assuming not, then say: “The minutes from our last meeting are approved once the agreed-upon changes have been made.”

11. File Meticulously

Since minutes are a legal document, take care when filing them. Make sure the file name of the document is consistent with the file names of previously filed minutes.

Occasionally, members of the organization may want to review past minutes. Know where the minutes are filed!

One Caveat

In this day and age of high technology, you may ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be simpler to record the meeting? This depends on the protocols of the organization, but probably not.

Be sure to ask what the rules are at the organization where you are taking minutes. Remember that the minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting.

The minutes reflect decisions not discussions. In spite of their name, “minutes,” the minutes are not a minute-by-minute transcript.

Bottom Line

Becoming an expert minutes-taker requires a keen ear, a willingness to learn, and some practice, but by following these tips you will soon become proficient.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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