You can make your meetings a SAFE space – and that will make your meetings more effective.
As a leader, you help to influence the power dynamics in any meeting. Following are some suggestions on how to use your influence productively, based on a recent article in Harvard Business Review:
- Ask someone else to facilitate the meeting. You don’t need to be the center of attention, and this is a good developmental opportunity for others. Make sure to give them feedback afterwards on how they did.
- Don’t sit at the head of the table. In fact, try to use round tables whenever possible.
- Create warmth and informality. Put your phone in your pocket and keep it there! Make eye contact with each person. Smile. Add levity as appropriate; this does not mean telling jokes!
- Model acts of vulnerability. Example: “I’m not exactly sure of our best course of action here. We need all of us to brainstorm to decide what is best.”
- Reward challenges to the status quo. Encourage creative thinking and acknowledge initiative. And don’t smother descent.
- Buffer strong personalities. Some people are extra talkative. Suggest something like “Let’s make sure everyone gets airtime on this,” then call on someone who has not spoken to ask what they think.
- Listen carefully and ask probing questions. Do this rather than giving your opinion. Try to listen way more than you talk.
- Give specific praise and recognition as deserved. Saying “I appreciate everyone’s work on this,” is fine. But it is even better to give specific feedback in the moment on a targeted contribution from an individual.
You probably don’t realize how much influence you have on others. Keep this in mind. Bring a positive attitude and create a safe space for your meetings. This will increase the effectiveness of your meetings and help you make more of a Mission Impact.
*Ideas for this blog taken from: Clark, T. R. “How a CEO Can Create Psychological Safety in the Room,” Harvard Business Review online, January 23, 2023.