Four Mistakes that Leaders Make in Meetings

meeting_wordUsually, I like to focus on the positive – how we can pursue excellence and personal development.  However, there are times to cry “foul” and accept the penalties.  Today is one of those days.


In organizations, time is not budgeted or tracked with anywhere near the same amount of rigor as money.  An interesting paradox when you consider that the number one expenditure in organizations is personnel.  People aren’t free, but their time is?


Thus, time gets allocated haphazardly.


Meetings are one of the most significant time investments that organizations make.  When you consider the hourly rate of everyone in the room, meetings are expensive.  It is the responsibility of leaders to manage the cost of meetings like they would manage other large expenditures.  Are you or your leaders shirking this responsibility?


Four Mistakes That Leaders Make with Meetings


1. Failure to define the anticipated outcomes of the meeting.

Why meet if it doesn’t move a project, process, or strategy forward?  Make sure that you make note of and communicate the outcomes and/or decisions that will result from a meeting.  If the anticipated outcomes sound lame when you say them out loud, you probably don’t need to have the meeting in the first place.


2. Failure to delegate the “legwork” of good meeting management appropriately.

Assign someone to make an agenda, take notes, arrange calendars, book rooms and equipment, and send out the minutes after the meeting is over.  This type of legwork for a high-stakes meeting is a great developmental assignment for a high-potential associate.  Plan this in advance or you’ll end up doing it yourself.


3. Failure to control the pace of the meeting.

As the “owner” of the agenda, it is the leader’s job to redirect discussion to the relevant points, manage ramblers respectfully but firmly, and ensure that the meeting outcomes are met.


4. Failure to question the necessity of recurring meetings.

Too often, weekly or monthly meetings are held simply because they are already on everyone’s calendar.  Leaders must periodically “audit” recurring meetings to assess whether or not they should:  (1) continue as is, (2) restructure and repurpose, or (3) remove completely.  Just because a meeting has occurred in the past does not mean it should continue indefinitely.


I work with people who treat time as a valuable commodity that deserves to be managed well.  Otherwise, they see my services as a cost rather than an investment.  If you are reading this article, then you likely fall in the “investment” category.


Are you making any of the mistakes above?  Redirect the ship, and if you need a quartermaster, I’m only an email away.


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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


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