The Kind Approach To Meeting Madness

It’s absolutely possible to reduce the need for meetings if you focus on clarity and trust. In fact, it’s the kind thing to do. We all have tasks we have to complete and goals we want to reach. Meetings are an interruption. Let’s think with kindness about how to reduce the meeting madness.

A high-functioning team needs shared clarity on each of its members’ roles, and mutual trust that its members are empowered to do what they are accountable for doing. As a team, the time you invest upfront in establishing clarity and trust pays off. How? You all get back the time you would lose in every pointless daily or weekly status meeting that you allow yourself to avoid.

My rule of thumb is that you should almost never have a meeting unless you need the direct input of meeting participants to make a decision. Decisions and status updates can be communicated asynchronously, when team members understand each other’s roles and trust each other’s capacities.

​If it seems strange to think of meeting overload as a failure of kindness, consider the question this way. Many meetings are simply a proxy behavior that takes the place of action and decision making. This happens for two common reasons. One, organization: no one has clear enough accountability, so teams need to come to the table repeatedly to hash out ambiguous decision making. Two, leadership: consciously or unconsciously, a leader wishes to diffuse responsibility for uncertain outcomes by delaying them or multiplying the number of people involved.
When kindness becomes a key part of your interactions, these gaps go away, and the hidden pretext for proxy behaviors goes away. You and your colleagues can then come solidly back to acting and deciding.

One Reply to “The Kind Approach To Meeting Madness”

  1. Very interesting! A number of times meeting are proxy to
    1. Reaffirm or show who is the boss
    2. An ego play, I did this or I am the best

    All of this is counter productive for the team spirit. It just flares unhealthy competition to outdo one another, more so in terms of claims and counterclaims. Kindness works better

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