Meetings with a Mission, Part 3: Appoint a Meeting Leader

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

3. Appoint a leader for the meeting.

Someone has to call the shots.  Someone's gotta step up to the plate and be the one who puts a meeting agenda together and facilitates the meeting.  It's a tough spot to be in, for sure.  But it's gotta be done, and somebody's gotta do it.

That may not need to be you however, if you're the business owner or manager. Remember that one of the most important responsibilities you have in that position of leadership is to impart yourself to others, thereby enabling them to lead in their own areas.  Leading team members to lead a meeting is a great way to give people an opportunity to stretch and grow, and to see what they're made of.  

With that in mind, here are some characteristics of a good meeting facilitator that you should look for when deciding who to lead the meeting.  There's probably no one on your team who will have all of these characteristics.  But there are more than likely one or two persons who have most of these features.  They are also listed from the easiest to the hardest attributes to develop as a meeting leader. This person should be...
  • Capable in the basic administrative work of typing up an agenda and distributing it to the proper attendees.
  • Always flexible in planning the meeting, since real life seems to mean frequent real changes or shifts in agendas.  They should be able to "roll with the punches" and to ebb and flow as things morph.  This person should not have a negative attitude of some sort when things change.  
  • Discerning of the pace of the meeting so that no agenda item goes unfinished and completely addressed.  A good meeting leader will not feel stressed that things on the agenda won't get dealt with in that meeting.  If it's important enough to make it to the agenda, it's important enough to fully handle until it's complete.  A meeting leader will comfortably lead discussion and subsequent task assignments until the agenda item is thoroughly handled.  Otherwise it will simply resurface again at another meeting, giving everyone that sense of deja-vu confusion or wasted time.
  • Always firm in facilitating the meeting since most meetings contain rabbit-trail conversations and need a firm hand to guide it back to the agenda at hand.  This person should not be afraid of stepping in and stopping the conversation and reminding everyone of the matter how heated or passionate things may get.  Just because someone is heated or passionate does not mean that their thoughts are legitimate in light of the agenda which they helped create.
  • Asking for input from others.  There are two kinds of input, I've found.  There's the surface kind of input that team members give because they want to feel that they are participating and helping.  This is sometimes helpful, but only if it is a genuine and productive contribution and not just wasting time.  Then there's the deeper input that team members don't give because they are afraid of rocking the boat, disturbing status quo, or of any ramifications or consequences because they voiced their opinion.  A meeting leader should seek to gently dig that out of each person by creating a safe environment for it to come to the surface.  This means firmly discouraging any others from too quickly or harshly respond who may tend to be more opinionated or strong-willed.  
To Do Today: spend some time brainstorming the following two things 

1.  Who in your organization or business may be the best fit to begin leading meetings?
2.  Who in your organization or business do you need to start training and developing as a meeting leader?

Part 4: Invite the Right People

About the Author: Rob is a follower of Jesus at Jubilee Church.  From there he pursues Jesus' mission at Revive Consignment as the Business & Operations Development Director, as well as at Jubilee Church of Atlanta, in Woodstock, GA. From there he envisions and pursues missional-shaped business for the kingdom. He and his wife Sherri have been married for 20 years and together have three sons and a daughter. Rob believes the mission of the gospel is summed up in four simple phrases: know God, obey Jesus, make disciples, and plant churches. This is the pursuit of his life, as well as the point of his blog.

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