Communicate Like a Team

by: Bill Ringle

Coordinating, inspiring, and leading your employees to work as a team is a critical task every business owner needs to do, yet it’s also one of the most difficult things for some to manage. Entrepreneurs don’t typically go into business because they have a passion for leadership!

The most significant professional development experiences take place in the context of relationships. As the leader, you’ve got to think about your relationship with the team as distinct from your relationship with each individual on the team.

While I was coaching Ethan last week, he indicated that he was starting to feel uptight about meetings, like he did at the corporate job he left three years ago. He shared the usual litany of troubles that included inconsistent tone, lack of focus, lack of support, and poor follow-through.

“Everyone dreads bad meetings,” I told him. “The trick, now that you’re in charge, is to call and conduct high-quality, productive meetings.”

Here are five tips to give your team meetings additional focus and purpose:

1. Recognize that meetings are held for different reasons. When you gather your team together, you want to perform some combination of information sharing, brainstorming, problem solving, decision-making, communications prep/review, skill development, relationship building, and planning. Figure out what mix is appropriate for each meeting. Don’t call a meeting if sending e-mail will suffice.

2. Treat everyone on the team to the same experience. That could be sharing good news, like a new client or contract. It’s important to let everyone on the team feel included.

3. Develop and use a consistent agenda for regular meetings. Depending on your business culture (and every business has one), your meeting agenda may be formal or informal, down to the topic or down to the minute.

4. End meetings early, but not late.

5. Summarize to conclude so you all leave on the same page. Not only does this step present opportunities to clarify discussion points and strengthen commitment towards action steps, but it also brings about alignment from all participants. If a meeting concludes on the note of, “We decided to move to the new office location on Spruce Street on November 1,” it leaves little room for ambiguity or rumor. The company has declared: that’s where we’re moving and that’s when we’re doing it. All ancillary discussions and actions now need to support the goal framed by that decision.

Use these tips and find out how much more effective you can make your meetings, and by extension, your team. If Ethan can use these tools and perspectives to get more excited about team building, you can too!

About the Author:

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Bill Ringle works with business leaders from high tech and professional service entrepreneurs in the Greater Philadelphia region and shares the strategies and tools for accelerating growth through my Business Gym with business leaders from across the United States and in 15 different countries.

Business Gym with business leaders from across the United States and in 15 different countries.

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