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22 Reasons Why Leadership Team Meetings Are Ineffective (or Average at Best)

March 19, 2023

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I’ve participated in, observed, and facilitated leadership team meetings for over 25 years. I am confident in saying that for the most part, these meetings rarely exceed expectations. In fact, there are often discussions about the lack of perceived value of the time the group spends together. There is also a sense that instead of bringing people together and fostering collaboration, these meetings demotivate and push people apart through flawed group discussions and competing individual agendas. Instead of treating these important meetings with the professional respect they deserve, most individual participants see it as a way of simply fulfilling a team obligation and/or humoring the senior person in charge of the meeting.

I’ve compiled the following list of twenty-two reasons why leadership team meetings are ineffective, and I hope you use this information to start making changes in your organization:

  1. The CEO or person leading the meetings has very little training in how to run an effective meeting (and receives minimal feedback on how they are performing as the meeting leader).
  2. No ground rules have been established regarding how the team is going to interact with one another.
  3. There is a lack of continuity between meetings; each meeting feels like an individual event.
  4. Meetings don’t start on time and run over.
  5. There is subpar facilitation of group discussions
  6. Too much small talk and chit chat and not enough substantive conversations
  7. Meeting agendas are uneven, often with an unclear objective, leaving participants with only a sporadic sense of accomplishment.
  8. There is bad time management related to individual agenda items.
  9. Participants are distracted by technology and lose focus on a regular basis.
  10. The leader does a poor job of capturing meeting minutes and allocating or tracking follow-up action items.
  11. Too much time is spent on reporting past results, and not enough time is spent on problem solving or implementing new initiatives.
  12. Participants are unwilling to challenge or push back on the leader out of fear or disinterest, but they actively engage in conversations outside the meeting with other people, voicing their true feelings.
  13. There is no formal decision-making process, and deliberations are handled in a haphazard manner.
  14. Conversations are often more tactical and reactive than proactive and strategic.
  15. The most vocal people in the group dominate the conversation, not the people who have the pertinent information to drive the conversation forward in a positive direction.
  16. There is very little preparation by individual members in anticipation of the meeting, except for CYA.
  17. The team doesn’t know how to handle conflict properly and either makes it personal or passive-aggressive, or it avoids it altogether.
  18. There is minimal or no use of employees outside of the leadership team to provide valuable insight and inform discussions.
  19. There is minimal or no use of outside experts to inform discussions as needed.
  20. There is very little collaboration and individual interaction outside of group meetings; people stay focused on their own silos.
  21. The performance of the team is rarely discussed with minimal efforts put into team development.
  22. The rules of engagement are different for family members; everyone sees this and resents it.