‘I want you to bring something to the weekly team call to discuss’.
As leaders we know we should be actively encouraging our teams to proactively raise any challenges or opportunities, and one of the most common ways I see my clients do this is to ask their teams to bring their discussion points to the weekly team meeting / all-hands.
It’s well-meaning, and if you have an extrovert team who are all happy to share at the drop of a hat then this type of request can work well. The problem is that for broadly introverted teams or individuals (who do well in 121’s but struggle in groups) contributing in team meetings can be a rather daunting, high pressure prospect. ‘What shall I say?’, ‘Is my point worthy enough?’, ‘What if others on think my idea is stupid?’
Last week I worked with a client of mine – whose team falls into the introverted category – to implement a new format for their weekly team meetings.
The simple exercise is called ‘This week would be fantastic if…’
Here’s how it works:
At the end of the weekly team call (which we are renaming) my client will ask each member of the team in turn to complete the sentence “This would be a fantastic week if ….”
In doing so, my client is making it easy for the team to share a challenge (or an opportunity). In fact, it will be their most pressing or the most impactful of these. And it gives the rest of the team the opportunity to|:
- understand more about their challenges
- support and help
This simple exercise changes the format of your weekly call and is a very low-pressure way to open up communication.
The reason it works is that the “quality” of the issues being raised aren’t being judged as your team might feel it would be if they are ‘bringing something to the meeting to discuss’ – which invariably produces nothing but shuffling feet.
If you’ve got a disengaged weekly meeting, then this might be something for you to try.