The Travelin' Librarian Management Make Your Meetings a Safe Space for Honest Conversation

Make Your Meetings a Safe Space for Honest Conversation



I recently met with a group of managers to discuss ways to improve meetings. Our goal was to figure out how to create a space that people actually look forward to being in. We each began by describing a meeting we remembered as especially powerful.

One story stood out.

My colleague told us about a time when he was a young engineer working on several project teams in a manufacturing facility.  He said, “Josh, my manager, would take everyone out for pizza when he came to the factory, and we’d have a ‘no secrets’ meeting. Josh asked us about whatever he wanted to know and we did the same in return. It was a meeting where everyone had permission to say or ask anything. It was amazing.”

Josh used these meetings to discover how his team was doing, how their projects were progressing, and what they needed in terms of support and resources. He asked broad questions to initiate open conversation:

What do you think I need to know?

Where are you struggling?

What are you proud of?

There was no pressure to have a perfect answer. The only requirement was to be honest and sincere. Of course, it helped that Josh was a thoughtful, authentic, and caring manager — qualities needed to create the psychological safety such a conversation requires.

The quest for better meetings ultimately lies in leading with mutual respectful, inclusivity, and establishing a space that is safe enough for people to speak their minds. You may not need to do exactly what Josh did, but you can increase the freedom, candor, and quality of conversation in your own meetings by focusing on two key areas: giving permission and creating safety.

Here’s how.

Read the full article @ Harvard Business Review
Image CC Valery Kenski

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