To make the most of every meeting, it is important to focus on the outcome rather than on ourselves. The question then becomes:
“How can I contribute in ways that help move us towards the desired outcome?”
In that regard:
Q: Am I prepared for this meeting?
Q: How do I treat others?
Q: How do I listen?
Q: When I speak, why do I speak?
Tom’s Reflection on These Questions
Meetings are such an important part of any leadership practice that they deserve more thought than we often give them. The “Why are we having this meeting?” question was dealt with in the previous slide, so the question here is really:
“Now that we have decided the why, who do I need to be in this meeting?“
This is clearly linked to the desired outcome.
- We may be in the meeting to inform.
- We may be there to listen.
- We may be there to persuade.
- We may be there to motivate.
Having that clarity can then help us get a sense for how we might best show up in this meeting. More broadly, building this reflex can also help us get a sense for how our presence might be impacting a meeting and those attending. It can also help us be clearer about the roles we are playing in the meeting and switching more seamlessly between them.
- Are others encouraged to speak in my presence? To hold back?
- How might I be skewing or directing conversations?
- Who speaks last in a discussion?
The impact of meetings also extends well beyond the formal end. Reflect on what impact this might be having on people and their work:
- How do people leave the meeting?
- Are they more focused?
- Are they more motivated?
- Indeed, what tangible outcome has the meeting had for them?
- What follow-up might be required?
- What might we do differently?
For example, I continually see leaders tell a meeting what they want to do and then ask for feedback. This is fine at times, but it does tend to reduce the thinking space so reflect on what environment you want to create.
The Curious Leaders programme is designed to foster a deep sense of curiosity about who you are as a person and as a leader. It challenges you to reflect on what you can do each day to become a more effective leader. The premise is that before we can truly lead others, we first need to lead ourselves.
It thus ultimately starts with self-leadership. This is about building a practice of reflection and action whereby we become increasingly curious about how our thinking is impacting our actions. This is the first step in building a world in which curiosity shapes leadership.
In this world, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning. In truth, nurturing curiosity in leadership is essential if we are to address the key challenges of the 21st century.
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