This morning I met with a group of team leaders and the topic of team meetings was raised. We love or loathe team meetings, find them boring or stimulating or just a waste of the time we could be spending on something more productive, like catching up on our notes or the other million jobs waiting in the wings or on the our ever-growing ‘to do’ list.
My question is, what makes this so?
This morning’s conversation prompted me to reflect on the culture of teams and how we engage with the purpose of our work and or treat each other when we come together.
Many teams do not function so well. In these team meetings we may see:
• Lack of connection to the team’s purpose
• Lack of respect for others
• Language of blame
• Meetings always starting late
• People talking over the top of each other and constant interruptions
• Negative body language ~ rolling of the eyes or silent protests
• Focus on individual opinions, not team.
Team meetings that are allowed to descend into disregard for others and lack of focus are no fun, however the greater concern is the lack of RESPONSIBILITY, of each person, including the team leader.
These teams are not held to account with regards to the team’s purpose. Disrespectful relationships with a bullying undercurrent are unacceptable and often reflect what is happening in the client population. Meetings drag and the gathering can simply be another opportunity to whine and moan about what is not working or not suitable. They can be a forum to focus on individual pursuits, rather than the team responsibility for the provision of the service.’
If we stay focussed on our individual pursuits and interests then we never leave that space to feel the potential of the team.
How could it work?
Gathering as a team can be an opportunity to:
• Participate in discussions and debates about the service or program
• Offer support to others
• Raise important issues affecting the team, individuals or the service quality
• Get together with colleagues
• Share our experiences
• Exchange information
• Have some fun
Team meetings can create a sense of belonging and we can feel the power of the collective work that is being done by the team to support clients. If these elements are happening then we are most likely in a well functioning team where there is engagement and active participation in the business or operational side of the service as well. After all, our teams are charged with the job of providing a quality service in our communities. Meeting others in equality and understanding whilst at the same time expressing respectfully what is to be said, is a much more powerful way to engage and begin to regain a focus for the team and to dissolve defensiveness than to attack, avoid or undermine another.
Let’s review the part WE play in the quality and health of our team.
WE matter and WE make a difference.
Let us know your experiences of team meetings by commenting on the blog.