A drawback of our more collaborative work environment is the number of meetings we’re are expected to attend. In a prior article I talked about 5 tips to help you decide whether to meet or not. Here I want to offer you three tips to becoming a meeting hero.

Meeting hero tip #1 Save your team

As a supervisor, part of your role is to protect your team’s time so they can put their energy towards the important work. Now, presumably you’ve already taken my advice to make sure your meetings are as effective as possible. However, everyone else in the agency may not have taken my advice and are running terrible meetings. To be a meeting hero, use your influence to empower your team to decline meetings that are not a good use of their time.

In your next one-on-one, ask your team member if there are any meetings that they regularly attend that are not useful. Explore why they don’t think it’s helpful. If it becomes clear that the meeting is, in fact, not a good use of their time:

  • Give them permission to not attend
  • Follow up with the meeting owner to let them know your team will no longer be attending

By being a meeting hero for your team you don’t just save their time. You also demonstrate that you are their advocate and are willing to remove barriers to them being successful.

Meeting hero tip #2 Save yourself

As you move up in the ranks, you will find your time is increasingly taken up by meetings. And, as you spend more time in meetings and less time doing work, you experience increasingly more stress. As stress increases, most managers become more tactical rather than strategic. As a result, you may not stop to think whether you should actually attend every meeting on your calendar.

Take 10 minutes right now to look at your calendar. Look for any reoccurring meetings. Reflect back on why you attend them and whether they are a good use of your time. There is a good chance that you attend at least one or two of those meetings ‘just in case’ something relevant comes up. If this is the case, I challenge you to:

  • Contact the meeting owner to let them know you won’t be attending the upcoming meeting. Ask them to follow up with you if an agenda item comes up that is relevant to you or your team. Then decline the reoccurring meeting invitation.
  • In advance of any meeting, contact the meeting owner to request an agenda at least 1-2 days in advance of the meeting. If you do not see anything relevant to your team, let the owner know you do not plan to attend and then decline it.

By being a meeting hero for yourself, you open up time on your calendar to think more strategically. You also leave more time for your team and set a good example that everyone’s time is valuable.

Meeting hero tip #3 Save everyone else

Take some time now to review any reoccurring meetings you hold. Do they really add value or could they be translated into a quick status email? Are you using agendas? Have you been dismissing people from meetings when their attendance is no longer needed? If you answered no to any of these questions, be a meeting hero for everyone else by:

  • Canceling (or decrease the frequency of) reoccurring meetings that no longer add value.
  • Make sure you are being careful about your attendee list and quickly dismiss people who no longer need to attend.
  • Re-institute agendas that you distribute 1-2 days in advance of the meeting. Encourage people to decline your meeting invitations if they cannot contribute to anything on the agenda.

Let me know if you are a meeting hero! If you have any other tips for how a manager can be a meeting hero, share them in the comments.

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