February 4, 2020

How to have better meetings

Energy is contagious – 

what kind of atmosphere do you create at the office?

Does this scenario sound familiar? You are on your way to the office, just back after a week away. Before you left, you delegated tasks to key staff. Now you are back. Monday AM: driving to the office you’re are doing a “drive time” conference call with key stakeholders. It doesn’t go well, the numbers don’t add up, deadlines have slipped. Key team members were either not on the call or didn’t contribute as you had hoped. A few stepped up and took ownership, others did not. Clearly things are not as aligned as you thought or hoped.

You walk into the office, thinking of the conference call and the looming client deadline, the lack of follow through. You grumble hello to the Receptionist, a small hi to some of the people in the Finance Team and then flash a short and seemingly rather rapid grin at the Online Marketing folks before getting to your office.

So what happens in the office, and to the office, from what just happened? Most likely a climate of bad energy will radiate throughout the office. I call it the turtle effect because I’ve seen it: people lean forward, lean over and cover themselves in their turtle shell, literally “hunkering down”. You end up getting less from everyone because they are affected by the contagious negative energy. They may then pass that on to other departments, clients and stakeholders.

As you walk through the office, deep in your thoughts, you may think that is not an act of leadership. It is. People who work with and for you are constantly scanning what, and how, you do things – picking up on signs of how you are, and gauging how to deal with you. They may be more affected than you think. So next time you walk through the office, see this as an act of leadership – head held high, radiating the most appropriate energy for the circumstances. Most of the time, that will be a smile and an open demeanor.

Be congruent, as there are times in difficult moments – where you would be entitled to show your appreciation for the situation and even lower your energy to a more neutral demeanor.

At-Most-Fear bosses probably contribute to people’s insecurity – where the positive atmosphere leaders create a climate of collective and individual growth, understanding and learning.

Look into the mirror and ask yourself these questions to see which part of the spectrum you fall into and consider your energy next time you interact with your team. You’ll see that you can literally adapt your energy for the day or the moment.

Good news is that it’s contagious and it starts with you!

Positive Atmosphere Behaviors:

  • Be aware of your energy throughout the day, making a conscious choice to choose the most appropriate and positive energy for the moment and the day. If you had a disappointing meeting, leave that energy behind and move to your next activity in positive zone.
  • Make being around you enjoyable and demonstrate enthusiasm for most tasks.
  • Drive a collective sense of clarity / purpose and stay the course – encourage others along the way when there is a performance dip.
  • Use the team: never try to solve everything all alone – pull in the team to help out.
  • Give people the acknowledgment and recognition they deserve.
  • Ask people how you impact others – it might be your blind spot.
  • Go out and sit with various stakeholders in your organization. Make it a point to do a regular “listening tour” where you listen far more than you speak.
  • Express genuine concern for mistakes and seek to learn from them. This means doing after action reviews, noting what went well and how you can be even better next time.
  • Nobody is perfect. So be vulnerable, show your development sides to others if you expect them to show them to you as well. Make sure its OK to be less than perfect and not expect that from others.
  • Ask people how they are doing; use active listening skills. Stay long enough to check in with people and ask how they are truly doing.
  • Leadership by walking around: look interested as you walk through the organization, say hello to people.