Leading Through Meetings

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As a leader do you find meetings to be an interruption in your day, or as an opportunity to exercise your leadership?

In a recent coaching session with a group of pastors near Victoria, BC, Bill Hybels said, “You’d be amazed how much of my leadership I do in meetings.”

Well, this week I found myself in a leadership laboratory, where I put Hybels’ principle to the test.

It fell on me to chair our church’s semi-annual members meeting. As chairman of the meeting it wasn’t my place to overtly direct the congregation one way or the other. In our context the chair’s job is to facilitate the members’ decision-making process.

Having watched masterful leaders handle this job with excellence, there were 3 “Leading through Meetings” principles I attempted to exercise:

1. Setting a congenial tone of openness.

The leader must establish from the outset that this is a safe place to contribute opinions and ideas.

2. Keeping the main thing the main thing.

The leader must communicate the critical items to be accomplished and ensure that “lesser” items do not hijack the proceedings.

3. Getting the ball over the goal line.

A leader’s intuition must tell him when to wrap up discussion and to move to a decision; too soon and it can appear manipulative; too late and the discussion runs the danger of losing focus and momentum.

In the end, the meeting was a success, great decisions were reached on key items, and there was a positive sense of accomplishment among the members.

Bottom line? I think Hybels is right. Meetings should not be viewed as obstacles in our way, but as critical opportunities to exercise our leadership.

How do you leverage your leadership in meetings?

the author

Scott Cochrane

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