Meeting as a Team

This week I started looking into the teams and their impact on the organization.  When they are performing well they produce more significant results than individuals alone.  A key to teams getting things accomplished are team meetings.  These are used to assign work, solve problems and check progress.  So how do team dynamics impact the meetings?

Previously, I looked at having a clear agenda as one key to an effective meeting.  This is so very true.  However, even with that the meetings can go awry based on the people who are in the room.  Unless the personalities are managed well during the meeting you can end up of track and not getting good decision or even resolution to problems.  There are five types of problem personalities in meetings.  Let’s look at each one.

  1. Monopolizer – The person takes over and controls all conversation.  They must be heard no matter what anyone else has to contribute.
  2. Tangent Talker – This is the person who pulls the conversation down a side trail leading away from the topic at hand.
  3. Devil’s Advocate – This person questions and challenges statements and decisions.  Their questioning can be seen as argumentative and create hostility in the room.
  4. Cynic ­– Here is the person who can tell you reasons why every idea or solution will fail.
  5. Fence Sitter – Getting this person to commit to anything is hard.  They will wait to see what will be the winning solution before they speak up.

For the team to be effective their meetings need to be effective.  To make that happen, the people in the room need to be managed properly. 

  • The monopolizer needs to held in check to allow others to speak up.  This has to be done tactfully or they will shut down and stop participating or will become hostile.
  • The agenda will help keep the tangent talker on track.  The meeting leader may need to interrupt and bring them back to the agenda topic.
  • As far as the devil’s advocate is concerned it is important to utilize them to challenge ideas constructively.  They can help take ideas to a higher level and turn up better solutions.  The trick is to keep them doing this in a useful way instead of destructive.
  • Again, the cynic can be useful to flush out risks and strengthen the viability of the solutions or ideas.  A great question for them is “What would it take to make this work?”  This gives them the chance to add to the idea and to have their concerns addressed.  Keep them focused on finding success.
  • For the fence sitter it often takes asking everyone in the room to state their thoughts and to agree/disagree with the idea being discussed.  Accountability for speaking up is key to getting them to make a decision.

When a team is in the “performing” stage these disruptive personalities have been incorporated into the fabric of the team.  As the team moved through the “storming” and “norming” phases they naturally found ways to manage the problems and bring out the best in each person.  The problems are the negative impact these personalities have during the “storming” and “norming” phases.  The team leader needs to be aware of the personalities in the meeting room and how to manage any inherent disruptions.  Their role will become referee some of the time.  Solid leadership will allow the meetings to be more effective facilitate the team getting to the high performing stage.

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Filed under Team Building, Time Management

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