How to lead team meetings like a pro (and what not to do!)

It’s amazing how many small business owners DREAD running team meetings 😱 Even though they recognise they should be getting some benefits from doing them.

There’s a number of reasons YOU might feel this way too.

🤔 Perhaps you feel like you’re the only one putting in all the effort and getting nothing back in return?

🤔 Maybe you’re fed up of the bad behaviours you see during your team meetings?

🤔 Or, do you believe you simply don’t have the time to devote to running team meetings?

Whatever your circumstances are, there are two things I need to say to you:

  1. Firstly, team meetings are SOOO worth doing.
  2. Secondly, when it comes to how much value you get from them, then I’m afraid the buck stops with you.

In this blog, I’m going to bring to life the mistakes that some small business owners tend to make when it comes to running team meetings. And, what you can do to avoid making them.

MISTAKE #1: YOU’RE A LAST-MINUTE LARRY

Like everything you do in your business, preparation is EVERYTHING. The key to running successful team meetings, is planning them like a pro 👌

After all, if your people suspect you’ve put very little thought into their team meeting, they’re not going to take it seriously either.

Most businesses tend to have a team meeting each month. So, get them in the diary 12-months in advance.

Next, have a really good think about WHAT you want to get out of them, and HOW you’re going to do that.

Whilst your objectives should ideally remain the same throughout the year, some of your agenda items can change each month to spice things up!

Some really good team meeting objectives could include:

🤗I want to help my team to bond better together

📈 I want to discuss about how the business is doing

I want to get everybody’s help to fix a problem we have in the business

🏆I want to recognise great work and say thank you

🎓I want us all to learn something new

It’s also worth asking what your team would like to use the team meetings for. If they feel included from the get-go, they’re more likely to help you to make them a success 👍

(SEE EXAMPLE AGENDA ITEMS FURTHER DOWN )

MISTAKE #2: YOU TAKE IT ALL ON YOURSELF 😒

If you take on ALL the responsibility for the success of your team meeting – and it’s not going to plan – you’re going to feel frustrated and resentful. And what’s more, your employees will automatically adopt a passive role.

Instead, dish out the tasks.

For example, one employee could be responsible for finding a venue. Another employee could be responsible for recording and tracking the actions.

It’s a TEAM meeting so make it a TEAM effort! 🤸

MISTAKE #3: YOU DIVE STRAIGHT INTO BUSINESS 🙅

When your team come together, give them a chance to catch up with one another, BEFORE you begin. Especially if they usually don’t have an opportunity to see each other on a regular basis.

If you don’t carve out time in your agenda to do this, they won’t feel ready to get down to business. It’s the equivalent of inviting guests for dinner and expecting them to sit and eat the minute they walk through the door!

MISTAKE #4: YOU’RE AN UNBALANCED URSULA 👎

Now that you have your team together, you might feel fired up to discuss everything that you’re worried about.

In fact, it’s sometimes easier to talk about what you’re NOT getting from your employees than to celebrate the good stuff.

Too much focus on the negative will sap everyone’s energy and turn it into a ‘parent-child’ situation. So, don’t use it as an opportunity to get everything off your chest ⚠

MISTAKE #5 YOU TALK, THEY LISTEN 🗣

A team meeting isn’t a lecture or a church sermon, where one person speaks and everybody else listens.

If you’re using your team meeting solely to give information to your employees, then you could have saved yourself a few hours and sent them an email instead 📧

After all, there’s no ‘I’ in team, right? Team meetings are supposed to be collaborative and reciprocal!

MISTAKE #6: YOU’RE A SOFTIE SUNITA 📲

I hear small business owners say their employees can be very disrespectful during team meetings. Rocking up late. Rolling their eyes. Failing to do their actions. Playing with their mobile phones under the table.

No wonder these business owners hate doing team meetings 🙄

The way to address this, is to establish some ground rules upfront. Get your team to help you with this if you like.

For example, one rule might be: All mobiles to be left in bags! Another might be: Be punctual and be prepared!

MISTAKE #7: YOU SEND OUT THE WRONG SIGNALS 📣

As the owner of the business, you need to set a super example throughout the team meeting. If you don’t, you could have trouble on your hands 😱

For example, if you’re scrolling through your phone during the meeting, you give the impression you’re not interested. And as a result, unknowingly give your employees the permission to do the same.

MISTAKE #8: YOU’RE A RIGID ROGER 📏

Team meeting agendas are a MUST. However, sometimes there’ll be de-railers. For example, a useful discussion may take longer to explore than you anticipated. Or, there’s an emergency on the shop floor.

The key here is to be flexible. Remain in control, but recognise that sometimes things don’t go to plan, and that’s just life. Don’t beat yourself up about it!

MISTAKE #9: YOU HAVE AN AGENDA, BUT THE WRONG KIND! 🙄

You MUST put together a team meeting agenda and send it in advance, so people have time to read it and prepare.

If everybody rocks up to your team meeting not knowing what’s likely to happen – they’ll be less engaged and less likely to see the value in it.

Once you’re in the swing of running your team meetings the right way 💪 – you can even delegate this task to one of your team to do.

Based on the objectives I outlined above, here are some example agenda items for inspiration! 

Objective

Example agenda item

Why?

🤗I want to help my team to bond better together

Bacon butties and a brew.

It gives everyone 30 minutes to catch up on all the gossip before getting ready to knuckle down for the team meeting.

📈 I want to discuss about how the business is doing

Give an overview of how the business is doing. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Then, get everybody else to write down one thing they think the business is doing well. And one thing the business do better.

This gets everybody thinking about how your business could improve and grow.

At the same time, you get valuable insight that you might otherwise never get.

⚒I want to get everybody’s help to fix a genuine problem we have in the business

A brainstorm about how you get more people to follow, and engage with, your social media channels

A group exercise that gets everybody involved and generates tangible actions as a result.

🏆I want to recognise great work and say thank you 

Monthly Megastar Award!

Your chance to show your appreciation to one person.

Remember to reward the right behaviours to inspire others to adopt them!

🎓I want us all to learn something new

Monthly ‘How to…’ e.g. get somebody outside of your business to come in and talk about a universal topic like, ‘How to meditate at your desk’ or ‘How to manage your inbox better’

If people feel like they’re getting something back from your team meeting, they’ll be more engaged. Especially if they’ve had a say in what topics are being covered.

 

TO SUM THINGS UP THEN

😱 Loads of small business owners dread their team meetings for all sorts of reasons

👉 However, as the boss, the buck stops with you

🤔 To reclaim control – and get benefit from your team meetings – avoid making the nine mistakes I outline in this blog

📧 And finally, let me know how it goes!

Mandy Hamerla

Virtual HR Director & Leadership Mentor. I create game-changing HR & Hiring Strategies for ambitious small businesses in the UK and support you to lead your team with confidence. Check out my shop to download HR Templates & Contracts designed to make life easier.

www.modernhr.co.uk