- Politeness can seem to be at a premium in today’s work environment.
- As a manager, it is your responsibility to extend that politeness to all corners of your business, particularly during meetings.
Some employees in certain environments come off nasty. This is especially true in meetings where employees with “histories” face each and in that have the opportunity to engage in some sort of conflict.
Needless to say, any sort of contention or bickering from your staff can be a morale breaker, or at least cause nervousness.
To that point, it might be time as a manager that you put your foot down and say enough is enough. The problem with this is you might sound like a grade school teacher, which could upset your staff even more than they already are.
So what are your options?
Simple, you establish the following 4 steps all your employees have to take to be congenial during the company’s business meeting.
- Strive to be nice.
This should be a simple rule of thumb in any common area within your office area, but in particular during meetings.
Contempt between your employees can quickly kill a meeting and any progress you might have hoped could occur within the time you allotted for the meeting.
As a consequence, the meeting can quickly go off the rails and there everyone is, stuck with nothing to show for getting up from their desks to go to the meeting in the first place.
Assert as much strength in your role as a manager that you deem necessary to bring the meeting back on track. During that process, try not to call out the two or more offenders who are impeding what the meeting is to accomplish; doing so will only result in more attention being put on them.
Lead by example; ignoring the troublemaker employees will cause the other employees who are not raising a ruckus to help diffuse if not the tension, the pending shouting and nastiness that could come up in situations such as this.
- Insist that everyone is listened to.
As the manager, much of your leadership should come in the form of diplomacy.
By demanding of those in the meeting that everyone should and will be listened to for their comments and suggestions will affix a more tolerant atmosphere in general to the meeting.
At the same time, try to steer the meeting from those who choose to openly ignore a fellow employee by asking the ones who dismiss one person’s observations to comment on what they’ve said.
A tactic such as this usually merits a civil response between two or more bickering employees; just make sure it stays that way. If an argument breaks out, once again you’ve lost control as a manager.
- Solicit the opinions of others.
This is a great way to diffuse the rising tension within a meeting atmosphere. Soliciting the opinions of others tends to even the playing field, telling those at the meeting table that everyone’s viewpoint has importance.
Give each of your employees a chance to speak without interruption. When those you manage observe your fairness to each person at the meeting table, it is very likely they will follow suit, and issue forth the same respect as you are giving.
A particular bonus of conducting your meetings this way is you will also incorporate a sense of importance to each person’s feelings about a particular subject, this boosting their morale.
- When your employees disagree with someone’s opinion, make certain they do so respectfully.
No one likes to be criticized or rebuked in an office atmosphere, particularly during a meeting. To go through this can cause a worker to feel poorly of him/herself.
Morale falls and self-doubt creeps in which can do the ultimate harm in damaging this worker’s productivity.
Granted, your employees won’t always be on the same page; there will be a time when disagreements occur which in reality is a healthy consequence of workers who care for your/their business.
It’s when things get ugly with terse or offensive comments that things get out of hand during meetings.
It’s for this reason that you have to ensure that if anyone in the meeting has an issue with another’s observation any criticism that should arise should be conducted in a respectful manner.
Make sure your employees realize there are no wrong answers or ideas. Meetings are conducted to touch base with everyone and share ideas. It is not a cage match in which the objective is for one fighter to bash in the opposing fighter’s nose. And even if it were, at least with cage fighting the opponents shake hands at the fight’s conclusion.
It isn’t difficult to foster and maintain a sense of camaraderie and respect amongst your employees.
In fact it is exponentially more difficult to bring back all of your employees to a place of general respect and teamwork once that has eroded.
Your job as manager, particularly in a meeting atmosphere is to keep the tempers low and the production high.
Do this and eventually none of your employees will have anything to complain about or ridicule, especially among themselves.