Meetings are a part of our lives. They’re inevitable. If you work, volunteer, or just live life, you’re going to be meeting with people.
I serve as a pastor, which might make you think I work one day/week. And if that’s what you think…you’d be wrong. I lead meetings with the team I serve, and with the volunteer team that I build in to. I’m a part of meetings every single day. And if you’re a leader, you’re often organizing, planning, inviting, and facilitating meetings, too. Multiple ones every week. Sometimes, multiple ones each day.
I don’t have time for meaningless meetings. Neither do you. I don’t want more meetings for the sake of meetings. I want meetings to be purposeful, and take us somewhere. I want action items. I want vision. I want inspiration. I want connection.
Here are a few vitals you need to keep in mind if you lead leaders. If you lead followers, maybe there are some principles in here you can skip. But if you want to lead leaders well, you’ve got to keep these things in mind.
The 5 Cs of Leadership Meetings
Always have an agenda. Know what you need to report out on since the last meeting, or since the last project began/completed. Make sure everyone is clear on where you’re at, and where the meeting is headed. This is also the chance to honor the work you put in to the last meeting, and not overlook celebrating what was done, and filling in the holes of what still needs to be finished. Meetings aren’t just about the new and shiny objects you’ve got in front of you. They’re about making sure you did what you said you’d do last time.
Why are you having this meeting? Where is your team headed? What’s coming up? What goals are you driving towards? Make sure you paint a big picture, and not just jump to the tactical, logistical side of leadership. If you overlook this step, you’ll create a bunch of worker bees that burn out.
Create action steps
This is the part where assignments are made, and the vision begins to take shape. Give deadlines, specific roles, and accountability. People should always leave a meeting knowing what the expectations are. I’m also of the opinion that everyone should leave with “homework,” objectives to complete before the next time you meet. This helps keep meetings from becoming a “we’re just meeting because we’ve always met,” focusing them around the idea that there’s work to get done, and we each have a hand in accomplishing our vision.
It’s easy for the above to feel tactical. Make sure you give space for leaders to share a bit of what’s going on in their lives. You know what I know about leaders? They lead everywhere they go. Oftentimes, they “don’t have time” to care for their soul, and those they lead sure don’t pick up that banner. If leadership is about serving others, this is vital to a thriving team.
I mean, come on. You can’t have a meeting without coffee. The principle is this: serve them something. Provide a snack. Water. Coffee. Tea. This helps people feel engaged, loved, served, and cared for. And it gives them something to do in those awkward pre-meeting-what-do-I-talk-about-I-don’t-know-so-I’ll-just-drink-this-coffee moments.