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The Overlooked Management Tool

For a myriad of reasons, many managers don’t hold regular staff meetings. Good staff meetings can focus a team, energize employees and engage them in ways ad-hoc interactions don’t.

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Staff Meetings Matter More Than You Might Think

For a myriad of reasons, many managers don’t hold regular staff meetings. Good staff meetings can focus a team, energize employees and engage them in ways ad-hoc interactions don’t.

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Here’s how to turn a halted or ho-hum approach to staff meetings into a high-functioning management tool.

Connect Daily Work with Your Organization’s Purpose

In addition to distributing information, staff meetings present an opportunity to connect your team’s daily work to your organization’s purpose. If you’re thinking, “My people know how their work fits into our overall goal,” you’d be wrong. In fact, if you ask your group what your organization’s purpose or your department’s purpose is, don’t be surprised when you get as many answers as there are people in the room. A discussion about purpose is a good one to start with.

Purpose is why you do what you do. You connect the work to it by explaining how employees’ actions align with the greater goal. By regularly connecting your staff’s activities to the customer experience, you can highlight why each of those activities is important. 

No matter what they do, employees usually enjoy their jobs more when their organization’s leaders talk about the importance of their work. They also tend to make better choices if they receive frequent reminders about purpose and what types of activities support it.

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Highlight Relevant Metrics

Connecting work to purpose usually works best when a team focuses on both anecdotal and analytical information. If you don’t currently track statistics, start. What you track will depend on your industry. However, whatever you decide should have a clear line of sight to the larger goal. With regular attention placed on the right metrics, the team is far more likely to make good choices as to where it should focus its efforts. 

Follow a Formula and Rotate Responsibility

Successful staff meetings usually follow a pattern, such as looking at weekly metrics, sharing information from the top, highlighting success, a team-building activity and so forth. By creating and sticking with a formula, managers help their employees know what to expect. Once employees know the pattern of the meeting, many will be capable of running it. Managers then have a natural opportunity to rotate the responsibility of the meeting to different people. By delegating, the manager is able to free up his or her time and provide employees with a chance to develop their skills. 

Celebrate Successes

In many organizations, there is a huge appreciation shortage. Staff meetings provide managers and employees with regular intervals to practice gratitude. 

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A steady drip of sincere gratitude can drive engagement. Note the word sincere. Most people have an amazing capacity to identify a false compliment. Real praise is specific. Well-delivered praise also ties the action to the outcome. People appreciate praise more when they understand how their actions delivered results. A praise segment in your staff meetings ensures you routinely take the time to recognize efforts.

Focus on Lessons Learned and Continuous Improvement

Staff meetings that include an opportunity to share lessons learned help drive continuous improvement. At first, people may be reluctant to share shortcomings. However, if you celebrate successes, you should begin to develop better communication and a sense of trust with your team. Modeling the process is a good place to start. 

The more you practice this exercise, the greater the gains you should experience.

Develop a Schedule and Stick with It 

Almost anyone can follow the above steps some of the time, but those who get the most out of staff meetings hold them consistently. They publish a meeting schedule, and they stick with it. They may shorten a meeting from time to time or reschedule, but they don’t treat their chance to gather the team as the least important priority.

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Good staff meetings aren’t perfunctory activities that add little value. On the contrary, when used to their full capacity, they are a dynamic management tool. Now what are you going to do about yours? 

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