|Dear Meeting Guru,
As an introverted person
forced to take up a managerial position, I find
it unnatural (although I recognize it as necessary)
to assert my position during meetings. Any tips
on how I can become more imposing?
Very few of us are natural-born leaders, but luckily we can all learn how to
fake it! Being an effective meeting leader is less about asserting your position
and more about fostering creativity, encouraging others to pitch ideas and then
evaluating each suggestion. Of course, you still need to be assertive when it
comes to keeping the meeting on track, finalizing decisions and assigning action
items. If the thought of leading a meeting really gets the butterflies going,
the best thing you can do is prepare yourself.
One of the best ways to earn the respect of your group is to know what you're
doing. People respond better to relaxed, confident leaders. Keeping this in
mind, it's a good idea to brush up on your meeting skills. The following article
looks at the responsibilities of the meeting leader before, during and after
If you're dealing with disruptive participants, it's particularly important
to assert your authority (no matter how unnatural it feels to you). The following
article identifies some common meeting malcontents, and suggests tactical strategies
for how to deal with them:
If your meetings are particularly confrontational, you'll have to take on the
role of facilitator. The following article
www.effectivemeetings.com/teams/teamwork/creighton.asp looks at how you
can use group-process techniques to improve meeting effectiveness. If things
get really bad, professional facilitation may be the only option. The following
article highlights the who, what, when, where and how of professional facilitation:
The wise philosopher Confucius wrote this quote thousands
of years ago, but it's still relevant to effective leadership today:
"If the Superior Man is not 'heavy,' then he
will not inspire awe in others. If he is not learned, then he will not be on
firm ground. He takes loyalty and good faith to be of primary importance, and
has no friends who are not of equal caliber. When he makes a mistake, he doesn't
hesitate to correct it."
Assert your authority, but support your opinions with
solid research. Treat your team with respect and don't be afraid to admit if
you've made a mistake. After all, good leaders take years to reach their peak.
Keep learning and improving yourself. Just because you've attained the position
of manager, it doesn't mean your education is over.
may good meeting karma always be with you.