Looking for ways to be a stronger leader in 2021? Leadership Coach, Shelisa Bainbridge, has eight tips on how to elevate your leadership presence in meetings.
If you’re a people leader, you want to show up for your people in a way that makes them feel excited to be at work, makes them feel they can trust you as a leader, allows them to trust each other as a team, and really contribute meaningfully to the team and to the organization.
One thing that you can do is take a look at how you’re showing up in meetings.
Start off by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you listen more than you speak?
- Are you speaking in order to ask a question, or do you find yourself speaking in order to state your thoughts?
- Are you asking questions in order to understand because there’s a gap in your understanding? Or are you asking in order to respond?
- Do you find that you are positioning yourself in the meeting so that your presence is known, or are you taking a bit of a backseat and showing up with humility?
- When stating an opinion, do you get comfortable when someone asks “why” and wants you to understand a little more about your perspective? (It may come across as challenging your ideas.) How do you feel about that?
- Are you checking your phone? Is your focus really on the team and what is being discussed, or is your attention split in other ways?
Meetings are a GREAT way to set the right cultural messages to your teams! Believe it or not, the way that you show up in a meeting can fairly quickly make people feel more trusted and empowered! To elevate your presence as a leader, try out these tips in your next meeting:
- Be clear about why your team feels they need you there. Many times, team members tend to feel less autonomous, and therefore feel the need to get permission or validation from their leaders. If this is the reason they are inviting you to the meeting, decline and let them know that you empower them to make the required decisions.
- Do not pay attention to your phone or any other device. Make sure that your team has your undivided attention.
- Practice listening far more than you’re speaking. Try this: put a metric in your mind around 80-20 or even 90-10, where you are listening about 80 or 90% of the time and speaking the balance.
- When you are asking questions, avoid using long, flowery “impressive”, “look how smart I am” language. Keep your language very simple and relatable. Speak slowly and clearly.
- If the group goes off topic, pull them back. Try asking the group: “Hey, is there a connection between what we’re talking about now and what we started talking about? I don’t see the connection, so can you guys let me know why we’re talking about this, what am I missing?”
- Once you get to the point of the meeting where people are starting to either talk about ideas or next steps, inevitably, at some point, all eyeballs might turn to you. Before you share any of your ideas, turn it back onto everyone else in the group and ask for their thoughts. Once they start to share their ideas, if it is different from what you probably had in your own mind, again, continue with the line of questioning and say something like: “tell me more about that.”
- Draw out all opinions in the room. Scope around and ask for the opinions of the more quiet individuals. By doing this you’re going to ensure that there is clear consensus across the team on next steps. You are getting the more quiet individuals comfortable speaking. You are helping to re-balance the social dynamic across the team, and making it very clear that every opinion matters.
- Cap the meeting off with a statement like: Thank you for inviting me to this meeting, I enjoyed participating in this session”.
Showing up like this in meetings is incredibly important. It helps make your team feel valued and heard, and those emotions are the seeds that produce collaborative, creatively confident teams.
Shelisa Bainbridge is the founder of ShelisaB Inc., a Leadership Coaching and Training organization specializing in developing new and mid-level leaders, in a format that compliments their lifestyle, with support that lasts a lifetime.