It’s another Monday morning team meeting. It’s disorganized, uncontrolled, and goes off on tangents. Nothing is ever decided, and things become mired in minutia. This boss loves meetings. He (she) will call them for the most insignificant of reasons, then let them drag on far, far longer than they should. And he wonders why nothing ever gets done on time.
Believe it or not, most Meeting Monsters are actually trying to do the right thing. They see meetings as a way to bring a team together and make sure that everybody is dancing to the same song. They enjoy the interaction, and perceive themselves as being ‘consultative.’
Although you may not be in a position to control the meeting, you can control your own time. The next time your boss asks you to attend a seemingly random meeting, let him know that you’ll be there, but that you can only spare so much time. “I’ll be there boss,” you might say, “but I’ll probably have to duck out after a half an hour – I’m really under the gun on this big project. Anything I miss I can pick up from Ralph later on.” Your boss now has to choose between letting you leave the meeting early, or giving you permission to be late on your project.
If it’s regular weekly meetings that are driving you crazy, try volunteering to do agendas. (This boss never has agendas). If your boss agrees, and gives you the topics he wants to discuss, put a time frame on the items and give everyone a copy. While your boss may not stick to the exact times you put down, he will become more aware of how much time is spent on things. Having the meeting points and agenda will also help reduce the number of times that things get sidetracked.
It’s worth a try. Have fun!
[This is from the Archive Project – where we are attempting to get 10 years of Winning at Work on the web! Original publication date: 17 December, 2004]
Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group and has been consulting and speaking on customer experience, employee engagement and workplace performance for 23 years
Meetings can also be destructive. My first job was at a supermarket. There were Monday morn meetings, Friday morn meetings, departmental meetings, grievance meetings and how-can-we-make-more money meetings. Any type of meeting to criticize to ultimately make himself victorious. All at the hands of an autocratic dictator manager who used them as chew out employees.
Great observation Charles. Some companies are banning meetings now!