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From Unglued to Engaged: 5 Rules to Running Productive Meetings

From Unglued to Engaged: 5 Rules to Running Productive Meetings

There’s no denying that meetings have a history of being boring, time consuming and counterproductive…but they don’t have to be.  With a little effort and input, you can make meetings both productive and stimulating for everyone involved.

#1 Consider The Timelines

When establishing a routine meeting, consult others for their preferred meeting times and attempt to make a global accommodation. Explain your motivation when prompting people for their preferences; you’re asking because during meetings you want each employee to be as active and collaborative as possible.

Whether morning meetings are too early or after-lunch meetings make members feel sluggish- employees who feel heard will reciprocate their appreciation.  Voicing opinions makes people feel more invested in the upcoming meetings and more accountable when it comes to being an engaged participant.

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#2 Brief and Blank Them

Give your listeners a reason to care by taking the time to explain why the subject being addressed is important enough to require a meeting. Get member’s ideas flowing by sending out a bulleted agenda as early as possible.

In addition to providing a copy of the meeting’s agenda, also provide blank spaces for details that will be defined during the meeting. (For example, leave room to fill in confirmed deadlines or designated team leaders, etc.)  By displaying blank space, people will make the connection that they should be doing more than just listening in.

#3 Ask For Input

Simply explaining your desire for cross communication and brainstorming will not do the trick; people first need to feel comfortable enough to collaborate.  Their willingness will be in direct correlation to your leadership tactics.

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If you want people to contribute, you’re going to have to foster a supportive, open forum where the only types of criticisms made are constructive ones that people can build upon.

Portion out a section of the meeting specifically for comments so others know their voices are encouraged.  While you are being considerate of the time frame, also remember to be patient with your approach, afford people the opportunity to raise a hand and have the floor.

#4 Shake Things Up

If you want meeting members to slip into a snooze, then by all means keep the formula of every meeting exactly the same.  However, if you want your meetings to have a little zip, then you’ve got to zest things up.

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Assign some participants to head certain topics/portions of meetings.  Open with a short, inspirational video to spawn some creative thinking.  Brand each meeting with a theme or schedule outside guest speakers to spark interests and insight.  No matter what you do, by switching up the normal routine you’ll keep participants on their toes.

#5 Follow-Up and Give Thanks

You can’t expect everyone to be on their A-game during every single meeting, some time might be required for stellar suggestions to form.  Request that members send a follow up email (by the end of the day, end of the week) that highlights any new ideas inspired by the meeting.  Show that you value their input by using their responses as jumping off points for your next meeting.

Obviously you should thank all of your staff for their contributions at the meeting’s close, but take the time to mention particular participants by name in recognition of their extended efforts.  This type of acknowledgment gives active employees a boost, while lighting a fire under everyone else within earshot.

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What rules do you follow to make meetings productive?

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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