“When in Charge, Take Charge” — Taking Charge In Meetings: This is the sixth in a series of blogs on adaptive leadership.
It is my belief that foundational leadership principles give leaders the ability to build teams capable of handling whatever might come their way. This series is based around what we at Level Five Associates have as one of our foundations: “The Big Six.”
The Big Six are the result of years of personal experience and observation of what make great teams work.
Part of what we consider so important about The Big Six Leadership Principles® is a belief that these concepts are, essentially, universal and unchangeable.
The underlying principles are always the same, giving us as leaders a foundation to build resilient — and adaptable — teams.
I’m In Charge, Right?!?
The fifth principle is “When in Charge, Take Charge.”
Being in charge means accepting the responsibility entrusted to you and acting accordingly. In some cases, taking charge means empowering people. In others, it’s developing a stronger listening environment. When in charge, you’re always leading from the decisive point, and establishing the conditions for others to make good decisions.
For example, let’s discuss the context of meetings in the ‘hybrid’ in-office/remote world we are in now.
We have to have leadership qualities that promote mutual accountability.
When we’re going to have meetings of the team in a virtual environment, we need to have video as well as audio. I know you’ve been part of video conferences, as have I, and perhaps, like me, you thought they were hours of your life you would never get back. We need to change that. (That can be accomplished by having more focused and intentional meetings.)
So, now more than ever, it’s vital to have people participate in video and audio. This is an appropriate time to be taking charge in meetings. Don’t give them a raincheck on the video part while allowing them to use the audio because ‘the dog ate their homework.’ No; they need to be on the screen. We need to know that they’re engaged in the moment, we’re having this conversation, and they’re not trying to play three video games while listening to what we’re doing. They’ve got to be in the moment.
So my policy is: no rainchecks on the video! We all have to be there, video and audio, unless there are really dire circumstances. If a technical challenge is involved, then we’re going to figure that out because I need to know where you are in your thinking, and to do that I need to see your body language and how you’re processing information. I don’t think you can get that by audio alone.
Part of accountability is establishing those kinds of ground rules.
In each meeting, wrap up by confirming who has committed to what by when — and that’s where you start off the next session. “Okay, what did we commit to here, including yours truly! What did I commit to? This is what I’ve done, what I committed to. Now let’s go around the table and see where everybody else is.”
Another helpful way to facilitate meetings is to alternate the chair of the meetings so that each person on the team gets an opportunity to lead a session. That’s going to raise the bar on accountability because chances are that anyone leading the session is going to be pretty well prepared for it. After all, they don’t want to look like a knucklehead in front of their co-workers, right?
We’re really talking about a continuum here in terms of adapting to the altered environment we find ourselves in. It’s more than just, “We’re going to have a meeting from three to four.” That was never really any good pre-pandemic, and that’s certainly not good enough now!
We must be aware of our responsibilities as leaders, and to lead by example. You must prepare in advance, you must be in the moment when you’re in each session, and you must examine what the deliverables are and ensure that everybody (including yourself) commits to their part of the bargain. That is what is required of us as leaders if we are truly to “take charge.”
This blog is based on my eBook “Who Saw This Coming?” You can get a free downloadable copy of the entire eBook here.
Enjoy the Journey!
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