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Make the most of meetings

Question :

I am a middle-level manager in a high-intensity job that requires me to be more hands-on than some of my peers. However, I am continually told have to regularly attend meetings and provide status reports, which cut heavily into my time to actually do the work. Some of my less-engaged colleagues seem to enjoy the chance to show off at these meetings, but I find them irritating and a waste of time. Should I ask my boss to excuse me?

Posted by Hans_Dirty on Saturday, 18 Oct 2014

Comments :

It sounds like the nature of your role is fairly hectic, with not much time to spare. I can imagine how it feels to be made to attend meetings which you believe are of little value, while taking up your precious time.

There are a couple of ways to tackle this issue. Firstly, have you asked your manager what is the purpose of these meetings? I think this is an important step, which allows you to frame the context of why these meetings are held and why attendance is compulsory. There may be specific items or areas of work that your manager is handling and working on of which you may not be aware. 

From the way you have described the meetings, it sounds like they are more focused on discussing ‘results’ of the team rather than ‘effort’. 

Are you confident that you are showcasing everything you can to present your status updates positively and to highlight your wins for the week? Typically, preparation before the meeting as to how you will present your performance is the key to success in such a scenario.

With regard to colleagues who might get under your collar, unfortunately they will tend to be a fixture through all stages of your career and exist in every organisation and take many forms. Try to put this aside and not let it frustrate you, as it is difficult for you to control their behaviour. I am sure that if you are noticing your peers showing off and lacking substance, your manager is as well.

About asking your boss to excuse you from meetings, I’m concerned this may come across as you being uninterested and unengaged in the bigger picture, which clearly is not the case.

A good alternative to this would be to suggest other topics or measurement criteria to be included in the meeting that appeal to you more, while maintaining the effectiveness of the meetings. 

In addition, it would be good for you to vocalise some of your thoughts in the meetings to enable other team members to see that you have an opinion to add on a matter either way, and that you have value to the team or project at hand.

A direct discussion with your manager regarding the reasons he or she hosts such meetings may lift many of your frustrations and improve communication between everyone in the long run.

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