I am delighted to welcome Hannah Jones of Blue Kite Coaching as our guest blogger this week. Hannah works with senior leaders in schools and says she was inspired by my recent post on meetings and decided to top it!
What is worse, when this is done and then no one has much to comment on them, what was the point? What would you do if you had made time to read it beforehand, made notes of the points you wanted to raise and then heard it all again?
I certainly wouldn’t be as keen to read it in advance next time. If I haven’t made time before a meeting to read the paperwork then it can’t have been that important to me and it devalues the time of anyone who has read it already.
Thankfully I have learnt some great tools and habits to make my meetings effective and engaging. I do get to lead or facilitate many of the meeting I attend now, but still prickle at a poorly run meeting where I leave feeling worse than when I arrived.
There was one meeting I remember vividly, for all the wrong reasons, when I left feeling that I would never get that time back. It wasn’t even a meeting full of doom and gloom or where we had messed something up. It was just REALLY BORING, dragged on far too long and there was far too much talking from one or two voices (the management). I couldn’t believe that, as a team we only got to see each other once a month and the opportunity had not been taken to fire us all up ready for the next month. Instead it was as if someone had thrown a bucket of water over any burning ember of enthusiasm I had. Incidentally, I did give the manager feedback and meetings did improve, but I regularly use this memory as a reminder to make the time teams spend together as beneficial to all.
When we make meetings productive, timely and engaging we send a message to our team that their time is important and that their input is valued.
I recently had the privilege to work with a Senior Leadership Team (SLT) where the Headteacher and Deputy Head wanted the rest of the team to speak up more in meetings and actively said so, but it just wasn’t happening.
Through a short programme of Learning PlayTimes with the SLT I :
- introduced them to simple tools to improve their effectiveness
- encouraged the team to see themselves as learners and leaders
- introduced the team to a shared language to describe leadership
- openly challenged the headteacher to give the rest of the leadership team space to learn how to be their own brand of leader
This team found their own voice in SLT meetings (I didn’t attend a single meeting!) and here is what some of the team thought and felt as as result of us working together:
- all understand each other better as leaders
- I feel more valued as a team leader and part of the leadership team
- I feel more supported and in tune with my colleagues
- I have a greater understanding of what it takes to be a successful leader within the school environment
- SLT has a clearer vision and understanding of each others needs
Wouldn’t it be great if the next meeting you attended left you feeing supported and valued?
What could you do to make this a reality?
Read more of Hannah Jones’s Blue Kite Coaching Posts here