When a leader understands that the purpose of meetings is not simply about getting goals accomplished, but more importantly, it is about the development of the people in the meeting, then that leader will go to another level in his or her influence and empowerment.
― Steve Backlund
One of the greatest ways a leader can empower others is through leading empowering meetings. Unfortunately this is not always the case as the following humorous scenario reveals.
“Oh no, another staff meeting,” Perry Perfectionist thought as he sat in the conference room. As usual, the meeting started ten minutes late. Perry’s boss, Monty Moody, walks in with a scowl on his face and says, “Anyone have anything we should talk about today?”
Gary Getterdone says, “At our last meeting there were three things you said that we needed to do prior to this meeting to save our company. Are we progressing on those things?” Monty looks perplexed, turns to Dexter Dictation and says, “Dexter, can you pull up the notes of what we said we needed to do?”
Dexter searches for five minutes on his computer to find the notes and finally does. “Oh here they are. No, we have not done anything on these.” Monty responds, “Dexter, you always forget to communicate important things to me. If our company goes belly up, I sure hope you are happy for making it happen. Anyone else have something to discuss?”
Connie Comfort says, “I don’t like having my cubicle next to Dexter because he is always talking to others instead of working.” Monty says, “Dexter, is that true?” With exasperation, Dexter replies, “No, Connie always exaggerates things!"
As the meeting closes, Monty says, “Oh by the way, I have decided we are going to change our original 8 AM to 5 PM work hours to the new hours of 6 AM to 3 PM. I’ve thought about it for last two days and I think it will work best for us.”
At this point, Gary gets up and shouts, “I cannot do that! Why didn’t you talk to us before making this decision?” Monty retorts, “Listen if you knew how much pressure I was under because of your poor sales performance then you would realize why I can’t bring every little thing to you first. If you don’t like it, you can clean out your desk and hit the road. Meeting dismissed.”
It would be safe to say this meeting was not a meeting with much empowerment in it. Hopefully none of us have been in meetings like this, but some of you probably have.
The main characteristics of empowering meetings include:
- Proactivity in planning and communication
- Attendees are given opportunities to influence the quality of the meeting
- Attendees understand how the meeting fits into the bigger purposes of relationship or organization
- Leaders are specifically thankful for team members and have a great ability to make people feel valued
- Testimonies of past successes are celebrated
- Individuals are celebrated frequently, including those who are behind the scenes