Leadership for Life – “Meetless” Mondays

By on August 15, 2014
“Meetless” Mondays

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

We training gurus are always pushing the value of time management and delegation as a way of reducing the stressful effects of overwork. Delegation of tasks takes some of the load off a busy leader, and helps to build the skill sets of subordinates who are eager to get into the leadership pipeline. Effective delegation presumably frees up some time for the leader to do something else – or perhaps to do nothing. If you find yourself with less and less time, leading to more and more stress, you might want to look at where you and your people are spending time.

Perhaps the approach that makes the most sense is eliminating tasks, rather than trying to shoehorn more tasks into a finite amount of time. This is especially true of meetings, which are often very time-consuming. If we could cut the number of meetings, or cut the time involved in any meeting, we could probably free up substantial time to actually get something done. Easier said than done? Here are some ideas that might work for you. Pick those that make sense in your organization and toss the ones that don’t – I won’t take it personally.

  1. Before setting a meeting, ask yourself, “Is this meeting necessary?” Maybe you can accomplish the same goals by email, phone call, or other communication method. This is especially true of regular standing meetings, often meant to bring people up to date on whatever is going on. Do you have a regular Monday morning staff meeting? Why?
  2. Have a clear and limited agenda – no more than 2-3 items, and stick to time limits. Participation in discussion should be focused and to the point – no tangential comments. You might also consider putting a time limit on individual comments, which can help people learn how to be more concise and to the point.
  3. Meet standing up. You’d be surprised at how much less extraneous commentary happens when a group of people are standing rather than sitting.
  4. Delegate meeting responsibilities – agenda creation, time keeping, record keeping, distribution of meeting outcomes, etc.
  5. Invite only those people who can make a decision or will be affected by a decision. If anyone else needs to know the outcome of a meeting, send them an email.
  6. Meet only when a decision needs to be made or a problem must be solved – by the participants. If you’re thinking of any other reasons to meet, see #1 above.

These ideas won’t be a panacea, but they might help you free up a few minutes here and there to think, create, or just daydream. You’d be amazed (maybe you wouldn’t) at what can be accomplished after a good daydream.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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