Inspired by a fellow blogger

I’m sure that many of you have already heard of Kevin Burns ( and if you haven’t go and have a look at his blog, I’m sure that you’ll find his weekly videos interesting!  Kevin’s videos talk a lot about the role of managers, but the more of them that you see, the more that you’ll come to realise that he’s not talking about managers, but he is talking about leaders and leadership.

A few weeks ago, he spoke about managers being visible, being actively involved in the activities of the teams that they manage.  He came up with a phrase which struck a chord with me:  we’re managers not ‘meetingers’.   The last word made me stop and think about what I’ve been doing personally for the last few weeks.  Have I made time to be with my team, or have I been a meetinger.  With great sadness, I have to report that I’ve been heading towards being a meetinger!

What can I do?

The answer is simple, or it sounds simple enough!  For each meeting that was in my calendar in the week following the ‘meetinger’ revelation, I asked myself two questions:

  • What will I contribute to the meeting?
  • What would happen if I didn’t attend the meeting?
The answer to these questions, particularly the last one helped me to free up more than 50% of my time that week.  If I was asked to attend a meeting where I was merely going to be supplied with information, I sought alternative ways to obtain the information: much of it was available electronically as PowerPoint files or minutes!  I can read!!

What did I do with the newly-found time?  I spent it with my team, understanding the challenges that they face, and helping them by removing some of the simple barriers for their activities that week.

…and next week?

Next week, I’ll be doing the same again!

Meetings culture

The organisation that I work for knows that the number of meetings that it holds is a problem, yet it still faces the challenge that individuals ‘like to be seen’ in meetings; it is their opportunity to raise their profile.  What this results in is the reduction in capability of such an organisation to deliver.  The staff are too busy with meetings to find time to carry out their actions that they agree to in meetings!  A vicious circle that needs to be broken.  Time for some Leadership!

There are simple steps that can be taken to break out of this pattern, but the leaders have to lead, particularly in the meetings that need to take place.  One of the most obvious causes of unproductive meetings is a lack of purpose or lack of focus.  There’s nothing worse than a meeting that is poorly chaired.

I’ll leave you with a simple suggestion about holding better meetings:

As a leader, try having an independent chair or facilitator in your next meeting.  That will provide more structure to the meeting, and allow you to contribute as a participant, rather than chair, secretary and participant!