After 20 years of sitting in staff meetings, board meetings, committee meetings, and ministry meetings it dawned on me that it would be great if there were a tool to help these things move along. Those that carry no agenda are killing the corporate and religious world. To gather people together with no direction is like drinking from a fire hose! Many meetings I have attended over the years have an agenda, but it still seems disjointed at times. Aren’t there a few basic tenets for every meeting that help everyone know what’s going on without get derailed so easily?
Here are 6 steps to a better staff meeting:
Building a sense of friendship among your staff/employees is critical to the health and strength of your organization. During this time, you as the leader create an atmosphere of checking the pulse of everyone present. Asking questions about family, life, and leisure activities builds relationships. One morning I discovered during check-in, that one staff member was having a really rough morning. While they were not excused from the meeting, I paid attention to not call them out or attempt to draw too much from them during the meeting. Another time, I realized a great joy had happened in their life and was able to bring that to light for all to enjoy together. If we rush to our seats and dive right in we miss the social needs we all have.
This is a time that we can begin to warm-up. Whomever is in charge of the calendar requests will present them to the group for approval. Your structure may delegate this responsibility solely to one person. However, if time has taught me anything, it is that awareness of events is valuable. How many times have you seen things double up? How many times have you witnessed the light bulb moment when a staff member forgot to add an item and now is reminded? These moments are regular for many. When staff discuss the requests it helps maintain focus on the direction. Having your team warm-up through this will generate better discussion later in the meeting when it really counts.
There is a theory of communication called the Rule of Seven. With all the noise in our lives, it takes several communications before anyone hears what is going on. This begins with the leadership. I have said many times that when we are sick of saying it the people are just catching on. We must continue to communicate in different ways while keeping the basic message the same. This is a time when we, as a church staff,
- Go over the publicly addressed announcements because not everything will be heard
- Decide what is to be prepped for video announcements
- Share what needs to be on social media
- Discuss anything that is organization-wide.
I choose not to dive into individual areas during this time because it isolates the one and alienates everyone else. We all lead busy lives as we lead our teams. If checking email and catching up on Clash of Clans or Words with Friends is an option during this time then something needs to change.
There is a vision. The leader has been charged to set it but not forget it. Gaining response from your staff will give priceless breadth to your decision-making. Every person in the room will have a different background and perspective. Drawing on the collective nature, the leader can present ideas and thoughts for the next quarter, year, or decade. Considering these things together provides buy-in and unity. Too often, leaders believe they have to make every decision without input. We have been taught, at times modelled, that to ask for help is a sign of weakness, ignorance, and insufficiency. I completely disagree. I do not have all the answers. The Bible speaks of 3 cords are not easily broken. We can refer to this in relation to group discussion. While the responsibility rests in the leader, there is no shame in garnering the strength of many.
In our meetings, we are always reviewing what the people are doing together. I would ask, “What are the staff doing together?” Building strength by working together builds longevity. These times of collaboration should, over time, involve the following:
- Projects related to church vision and organization
- Projects related to community ministry
- Book Studies
- Video Teachings
- Bowling Leagues, or whatever is fun
The point is that the staff need to work together on projects and learning opportunities for the benefit of the church and themselves.
At the end of the meeting, there should be a time of sharing and prayer. This is not to spiritualize what just happened, but to pray for one another. Learning to share our needs, hurts, and joys with each other echoes what Scripture teaches. Staff meetings do not have to be “of the devil”. They can be times of joy, laughter, efficiency, and vision!