Meetings. Does that word fill you with dread?
Almost everybody will encounter meetings in the workplace on a regular basis, and most will often arrange them as well. But are they useful? Are they productive? Well, that’s where the problem lies.
Research finds that:
The psychological contract
So, what do meetings have to do with the psychological contract? Well, the psychological contract is the unwritten rules and expectations that each individual has about their relationship with their employer and vice versa. Typically, the psychological contract includes elements such as how you will be treated at work; expectations about work conditions (lunch breaks, freebies, birthday gifts, Christmas parties); how your contributions are valued; how you are treated by colleagues and management; how management will support you in a crisis or when a customer is being difficult. The list is endless and, in fact, this list is speculation, as each individual will have different, if often similar elements to their psychological contract.
The benefit of meeting the psychological contract of employees? In a nutshell it includes increased satisfaction and productivity and fewer complaints!
But how does this relate to meetings? Well, we have all been in meetings and our experience of them is dependent on several factors:
- Does it start on time?
- Is there an agenda and is it stuck to?
- Do I get to contribute and is my contribution listened to and considered?
- Am I supported by my manager or colleagues if challenged unfairly by another meeting attendee?
And so on…
Meetings consist of groups of human beings, who are all unique and make decisions at an emotional level. If we don’t feel connected with others in the meeting, what impact does that have? And, conversely, if we are enthused by what we are trying to achieve because we can see why it matters, but are not getting a voice or are being ignored, what impact does that have?
These all impact the expectations of our psychological contract. If we feel we are not being taken seriously or are being ignored we stop contributing, lose interest and become dissatisfied and ultimately unproductive. This is not only in the meetings we attend, but also when we get back to our desks, because the emotional impact stays with you.
And the more this happens to us at meetings, the more we are affected. Not only do we become unproductive and disinterested, but for some it will lead to disruptive behaviour, both in meetings and afterwards. For example, lack of respect for an individual who didn’t control the meeting can seep into everyday tasks and not just impact in the meeting room.
When asked what annoyed people about meetings, the most common responses included having to travel long distances, meetings scheduled to take place over lunchtime, needless repetition and digression and people who love the sound of their own voice.
One commented: “The most annoying thing is other people monopolising the meeting for an ego trip.” Another disgruntled employee complained: “They are generally a waste of time, people turning up late, broad agendas and few decisions made.”
Therefore, it is important to make sure that all meetings are well run and take into account the psychological contract you have with each individual who works for you.
In my next blog I will look at how to be a great meeting participant.
I am also presenting a live webinar on 8th December, titled ‘The Secrets to Effective Meetings’. To find out more or register for the webinar click here now.
Stephanie Evans, Coaching and Mentoring Consultant, Bray Leino Learning
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