- Leading change
- Creativity and innovation
- Getting results
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Managing during crisis
- Giving and receiving performance feedback
- Increasing engagement
Skill Level Appropriate for all
- Great leaders don't get results by bossing people around. They help people in the organizations love their job more, right? I mean, people who love their job accomplish more than people who don't. Now, if that's true, one way to help people love their job more is to get rid of the things that they hate. And a good example of that comes from Melissa Moody, she's the Founder and CEO of a modeling and talent agency in Little Rock, Arkansas, called EXCEL. Now, like most small business owners, some of her children have ended up working for her at one point or another.
And that can sometimes lead to unusual meetings. Here's the case in point. One afternoon during a staff meeting, Melissa was discussing something that mostly involved one particular employee so her comments were primarily direct that way. Well out of the corner of her eye, Melissa noticed Brooke, her 30 year old daughter, slowly sinking lower into her chair. Now Melissa just ignored it, thinking that that was the best way to keep Brooke from making a scene but, eventually, Brooke disappeared entirely behind the desk that separated them.
Well, Melissa just continued with the meeting, not saying a word to Brooke or even looking in her direction. You know, she thought, if I just ignore her, eventually she'll sit up and start paying attention, right? Well a few seconds later, Melissa saw something out of the corner of her eye and it definitely was not Brooke straightening up in her chair. So this time she looked. Now, through a small space between the edge of the desk and the door, she could just make out the form of her daughter crawling on her hands and knees, slowly inching out of the room and down the hallway.
Okay, Brooke was insanely bored. And that dramatic exit was her unique form of protest. And since her mom was the boss, she knew she could probably get away with it. And she was right. And in fact, the whole family gets a huge laugh about it every time they talk about it. All right, here's the point. How many of your employees have desperately wanted to slink out of one of your staff meetings but didn't because it would be unprofessional? Probably more than you'd care to admit. And the reason is no different from Brooke's.
They're bored. And much of what's discussed in the meeting just doesn't affect them. They're in the room for two hours just to hear the 15 minutes or so that actually matters to them. Now why does that happen? It happens because staff meetings are typically arranged to be convenient for the boss, not the staff, right? It's the easiest way for the boss to hear what's going on from everyone and provide direction to the group. What the boss doesn't realize is that the time that she's saving by doing it this way, her time, is more than offset by the collective wasted time of her staff.
And more importantly, the cost to morale is immeasurable. That's the lesson that Melissa Moody learned that day. And today, her meetings are very different. Now they're very short and only cover a summary of the business that's important to everyone. And then, she follows that with detailed one-on-one meetings with her staff to cover the information that's important to them in particular. Now yeah, it takes a little bit more of her time to do it that way, but her staff is happier. They're more engaged and they have more time to work on the things that they love.
And Brooke Moody, by the way, hasn't had to crawl out of a meeting since. Now for most people, it's hard to hear that story and not rethink the way you run your staff meetings. In fact, if you're the boss where you work, ask yourself this in your next meeting. If my daughter worked here, would she be crawling out the door right now? And if the answer is yes, and it probably is, take a piece of advice from Melissa and change the way you run your meetings. Now, and if you're not the one in charge, by the way, and it's you who feels like crawling out during the meeting, take this story and share it with your boss.
Maybe they'll make a change, too.