How to Lead Effective Meetings, Teams & Work Groups

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Effective workplace leadership
Effective workplace leadership (Image: team image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com)

Leading effective meetings, teams, and groups begins with solid preparation. If you and your team don’t know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, you could be headed for disaster. Holding effective meetings will ensure that your teams and groups are energized and on the same page. Outside of meetings, leading effective teams has much to do with communicating with your teammates and allowing them the ability to take ownership of a particular task. With a bit of research and preparation, you may find that you are more than capable of being an effective leader.

Leading Effective Meetings

Write down the purpose of your meeting to put at the top of your agenda. Every meeting should have a clear purpose so that you can be on task. For example, one meeting purpose might be to review the group’s performance on a particular task. Ask others for input on what the purpose of the meeting should be if you are unsure.

Create the agenda for the meeting. Include the time, place, expected attendees, the topics you will cover, and why you’re holding the meeting. According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Quality Improvement, you should print copies and distribute them to your group members at least 24 hours before the meeting, preferably much sooner. Clarify expectations for those that are asked to present or speak during the meeting.

Start your meeting on time, take attendance, and ask someone to take minutes of the meeting. Review the agenda and reiterate the meeting’s purpose. Tell the people in the meeting that you support participation and are looking forward to the many ideas people will be presenting at the meeting.

Focus the topics of discussion on the task at hand. If someone brings up an interesting but off-topic point, make a note of it and let them know that it can be considered at a future meeting, but reiterate the meeting’s purpose. Ask for topics of discussion for the next meeting at the end of the meeting. Ask group members how they felt the meeting went.

Send out the meeting minutes after the meeting. It’s best to send out the minutes no later than one to two days after the meeting. Follow up on any order of business discussed at the meeting through email or individual consultations.

Leading Effective Teams and Work Groups

Discuss the purpose of the group at a group meeting. Talk about the expectations of the group, and field questions from the group members to clarify that everyone understands the group's purpose. A group that knows its core purpose can more effectively work towards achieving that purpose.

Review what is expected of each person in individual consultations. Outline specific job duties as well as the authority the person has to complete the tasks. Ask the person to explain their job duties and authority to act back to you so that you both have a mutual understanding.

Follow up with each person individually on their progress. Ask each person in the group to send you daily or weekly progress updates. Ask them to list what they’ve done, what challenges they encountered, and any questions that they have.

Hold regular group meetings to discuss the group's progress. Allow each member of the group a fair say in the meetings. Ask the group to evaluate the group's performance as a whole, what the group thinks is going well, and what the group should improve on.

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