Hello friends! Please enjoy this guest post about communication styles in meetings from Ron Stefanski, website entrepreneur and marketing professor.
There are many different ways to communicate in the workplace—each with its own strengths and weaknesses. As a leader, and especially as a meeting leader, your odds of success vastly improve if you're at ease with the different communication styles you'll encounter.
Depending on the purpose and current focus of your meeting, you may need to listen, advise, motivate, coach, direct, or teach. Developing fluency with these different ways of communicating will help you work with your team more effectively.
Right now, many teams are dealing with massive turnover. Reports on the "Turnover Tsunami" and "The Great Resignation" reveal staggering volatility across industries and countries. Have you driven past the restaurants in your area recently? If so, you've seen the desperate billboards advertising hiring bonuses, increased wages, and pleading with customers to forgive their limited services.
Why is this happening? Lots of reasons.
According to Gallup, it may have nothing to do with the organization, the manager, or the team; this is part of what happens when major events force people to re-evaluate their life choices. Normally, major events like graduations, marriages, births, and deaths are infrequent and sprinkled randomly across the workforce. During these last 18 months, every single person experienced a major life event all at once. Everyone is re-evaluating their life choices, and a lot of them are deciding it's time for a change.
In short, it may not be about you right now.
Of course, if your whole team just quit, it might be entirely about you. Your company might be a terrible place to work. You might be an awful manager. Gallup also says that the Great Resignation is made worse by a pervasive Great Discontent.
Whatever the reason, labor shortages are making it hard to get work done.
The cascading failures are unraveling the supply chain. Whole teams are walking away from complicated systems, leaving their replacements with no one to tell them how it all works. This makes the new jobs especially difficult because customers haven't relaxed their expectations. Kindness, unfortunately, is not as contagious as Covid-19.
While many are leaving their jobs, it's likely that boredom, loneliness, or finances will drive them into new jobs soon.
What does this mean for employers and people leaders?
Hello friends! Please enjoy this guest post about giving positive feedback in meetings from Richard Fendler, a goal-oriented project manager and team leader.
Meetings are an opportunity to discuss projects, provide updates, share ideas and make tough decisions. In amongst all this, it is important to remember that they can also be used by managers to give team members the positive feedback they need to feel valued and fulfilled in their role.
The challenge, then, is to work out the best way to actually give this feedback, especially now that more meetings are taking place virtually rather than face-to-face.
With that in mind, here are just a few ways you can be proactively positive towards your workers while meetings are underway, without this derailing proceedings and while ensuring that meetings have value.
So let's talk about those things you need to do to run great everyday business meetings with your teams. And yes, I'm going to share some guidelines you may already know.
Hopefully, you'll be inspired to follow them.
It's worth the effort. The leaders we've met who follow these "rules" enjoy more productivity, more loyalty, more engagement, better decision making, and less BS drama between team members than everyone else. And frankly, none of this is actually that hard to do.
Here are five rules for team meetings that I share with my business clients, and that I wish someone had taught me when I started my business.
Looking at the many examples provided in these articles, I hope we can agree that most teams have some meetings which are required to successfully achieve their goals. If we accept that we need at least some meetings, we can reject the lazy idea that we'll fix our unproductive meeting problem by just cancelling lots of meetings.
Too much time wasted in unproductive meetings. This remains a top contender on the list of workplace complaints, as it has been for at least 700 years.
Some folks wrestling with this complaint assume that the solution is to simply reduce the amount of time spent in meetings, ideally through the elimination of as many meetings as possible. This is a tidy, easily measured approach, which can yield a quick claim to victory.
If you're a trainer, workshop facilitator, faith-community leader, event planner, or consultant, you convene groups for a living.
You've probably designed your work assuming you'll be in the same room with the group you're serving.
Now, like everyone else, you need to figure out how to deliver your services online.
You're working fast and feeling a lot of pressure to have an answer for your clients now. You also want to keep your existing contracts intact as much as possible. It was hard enough to get these sessions scheduled in the first place, so you really don't want to have that discussion again.
Unfortunately, this desire to keep the transition from in-person to virtual as simple and direct as possible is driving many experts to make some poor choices. They're also missing some big opportunities.
Here are three of the most important mistakes we see experts make when they first redesign in-person events for online delivery, and some tips about what to do instead.
Many teams lack a clear process for making decisions. Others create decision-making processes that are plenty clear, but take forever. Most employ a confused mix, running some decisions through an agonizing gauntlet of analysis but leaving others up to the leader-of-the-day's whims.
These teams waste money and time. They also undermine the group's confidence and trust.
Who wants to work on a team where nothing gets done, because no one ever makes a decision without first checking and re-analyzing 97,000 times? Not me. Not you, I'm guessing.
None of us wants to work with a leader who makes arbitrary decisions based on secret criteria, either. While executive mandate sounds powerful, in reality it means that the leader couldn't get anyone else to back that decision with them, so they chose to bully it into being instead.
What works? And if your team doesn't have great decision making habits, how do you get started?
Earlier this week we announced the opening of Meeting School, the world's only online educational marketplace dedicated to meeting skills education. Meeting School offers courses taught by the team at Lucid and by meeting specialists, scientists, and experts from around the globe.
At Lucid Meetings, our mission is to make it easy for teams to run successful meetings every day. Teaching teams the skills they need to run successful meetings seems like an obvious way for us to fulfill this mission, and yet we're just now opening our first courses to students.
For years, when I shared the Lucid mission with new people they would say "Oh, so you do training? Workshops and things?" They assumed that a group looking to run better meetings would need workshops.
The Lucid Meetings team is thrilled to introduce Paul Dreyer.
Our founder Elise Keith met Paul when visiting Zingerman's. At the time, Paul was visiting Zingerman's to see how they'd evolved their training practice, and Elise was conducting research for Where the Action Is.
They got to talking about the Conscious Competence Ladder, a tool they'd both used for training meetings. Paul shared how he'd developed an updated version of the model for use in his work - and yes, it's way better! He's generously agreed to share this updated model with the Lucid community. Thank you, Paul!
When I first learned about the "Conscious Competence Ladder” of becoming an expert, I loved it.
I immediately added it to my leadership and communication tool box. Whether I was learning something myself or facilitating a training on leadership development, I would often point to this model as an effective and powerful awareness tool.
Sometimes also referred to as the "Conscious Competence Matrix” or the "Four Stages of Learning," this model helps us better understand the struggling landscape we must travel when learning something new.
Of course, I was not alone. Since it was developed in the 1970s, the Conscious Competence Ladder has become a widely used and loved tool. From classrooms to boardrooms to best-selling books on communication (i.e. Malcolm Gladwell's Blink), this model seems to show up everywhere.
Unfortunately, it's incomplete and actually not a good model. Let me show you how to transform the model into something better.