The Management Value of Quick, Informal Meetings

5 smiling people gather around a table

In any comprehensive new manager training there is a module on how to run effective meetings. Participants learn about how to create an agenda, how to facilitate so attendees stay on topic, how to handle conflict and how to establish meaningful next steps. But seldom is there focus on the value of the quick, informal meetings that can take place anywhere, any time.

From a management perspective, a lot can be accomplished in 10-15 minute sessions that occur over a coffee break or just before leaving at the end of the day.  Besides helping team members get to know each other better, these informal meetings can provide opportunities to:

  • Share problems and solutionsTeam members can talk about what problems they are facing and ask for help in solving them. It is an effective way to support each other and also to share lessons learned. When more than one brain works the issue, the solutions are bound to be more creative and are more quickly put into place. The problem could be as simple as learning the most effective way to transport a piece of equipment from one place to another or as complex as gaining an audience with a key stakeholder in the sales process. But when company-specific best practices are shared, everyone benefits.

  • Recognize discretionary effort and successOur small team at LSA huddles now and then to share “Good News.” Everyone is called upon to participate. There are no rules about what is shared…it could be personal or professional news...a new contract signed or a home project completed. The purpose is to reinforce the important bonds that hold us together and keep us working with mutual respect toward a common goal.

  • Raise issues of common concernSometimes there is a need to talk about issues that affect the entire team. It can be difficult to list them on a formal agenda that could draw too much attention. Instead, these issues are often more effectively aired first in an informal discussion. This way you can check to see if your experience is a common one. If so, you can talk about how to raise the issue to a level where it can be dealt with effectively.

When new managers understand the value of informal gatherings for team bonding, for recognition and for problem solving, they put in place a simple and effective management process that can only strengthen their team.

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