Help for the Meeting-Weary Manager

Most of us have found ourselves working on a team at one time or another. That means we have been asked to attend, and even participate, in lots of meetings. Unfortunately, few of us found these meetings to be particularly effective. Many in fact are a complete waste of valuable time and resources.

The difficulty with most meetings is that they are typically planned and run by extroverts, who do not take into account the needs of the introverts. Why is this important? Because a key diffentiating characteristic between extroverts and introverts is in the way they process information.

Extroverts will tend to "think out loud." They verbally walk themselves through the thinking process. Introverts however want to process new information on their own, in their heads, before commenting or vocalizing their thoughts.

And that's just the beginning of the problem. Extroverts do not take into account the needs of the Introverts or the way in which they prefer to process the information to be shared or discussed. Because Introverts require time on their own to process information, they are not prepared (or willing) to make decisions on items that are only being discussed fo the first time in a current meeting. All too often Extroverts bring a new topic up in a meeting, even if it's not on the agenda, and expect everyone to get engaged and act on it right away. Because the Introverts are processing the new information, they may not comment. To the Extrovert, no news is good news and this only means the Introverts must be on board.

Decision-making bias is highlighted when the meeting is controlled by the Extrovert. Extroverts view the quieter more contemplative members as:

"I just assumed that they weren't interested."
"I thought they had nothing to share or say.
"I figured they were a bit stuck up, stand-offish."

But let's not blame the Extroverts for all our meeting problems. Because Introverts prefer to process new information before speaking, they may plan the agenda and arrive at meetings thinking their decisions are foregone conclusions without ever engaging others for input or discussion. In fact, if the normally self-sufficient and reserved Introvert had his way, all meetings would occur by telephone or web conferencing or even email. The electronic meeting minimize the extra-curricular comments and diversions that occur when you put a bunch of Extroverts in a room. But like the Introvert who needs time to process, Extroverts need the opportunity to talk out loud and see who is doing the talking.

Now let's take a peek inside the Introverts' heads. What are they thinking about their group-oriented, outgoing Extroverted colleagues?

"They're all blow-hards."

"Not one of them has a clear thought in their heads."

"They don't know what they're talking about."

You can see how valuable insights might be ignored or interpersonal conflicts arise when personality and behavioral styles aren't considered. When other people's behavior patterns do not match our own, it is not unusual for us to begin to "make up stuff" about why others agree or disagree.

Don't fall into the trap of making stuff up about others without even knowing you're doing it. Understand your personal style, then understand how style differences drive and bias decisions.

Ira S. Wolfe is founder of Success Performance Solutions (http://www.super-solutions.com), a consulting firm specializing in helping employers fit the right employees to the job, on the team, with the company culture. He has also authored two books, Business Values and Motivators and The Perfect Labor Storm. He is also the a frequent guest on TV and Radio Cable shows as well as the subject of several interviews for the likes of Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek Online. You can contact Ira at iwolfe@super-solutions.com or 800.803.4303.

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


Give Yourself a Boss? Day Gift

Become a better boss and reap the benefitsAnother interesting study... Read More

Important Communication Tips For Managers

The following tips will help you communicate more effectively with... Read More

PR Still a Mystery to Some

Unfortunately, there are managers who define public relations by its... Read More

Don?t Get Down ? Manage Up!

"Experience is not what happens to a man; it is... Read More

Internal Communication: 12 Essential Elements

There are 12 essential elements of a successful internal communications... Read More

Business Innovation ? Organizational Structure

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation... Read More

Project Management - Its Just A Button

I once worked with a developer who showed up at... Read More

Performance Management - By Assuming Nothing

Unhappy as Jenny undoubtedly was, she held on very tightly... Read More

A Fast and Simple Way to Update Your Business

You open your computer, the flashing button says, "We have... Read More

Punctuality in Business: What it Says About You

"Nothing inspires confidence in a business man sooner than punctuality,... Read More

Auditing Improves Effective Planning

Speak of operations assessment, and we'll hear its significant value.... Read More

The Cheapest, Forget It !

Wouldn't it be great if we got get the cheapest... Read More

Parenting Your Employees to Better Performance

Have you ever worked for someone who was such a... Read More

Increase In-House Nursing Homes Collections

The following nursing home collections report outlines 11 guidelines you... Read More

The Seven Essentials of Business Communication

There are seven essential elements to successful business communication:StructureClarityConsistencyMediumRelevancyPrimacy/RecencyPsychological Rule... Read More

Setting Direction Within an Organization

FINDING DIRECTION: An organization can't succeed without direction. Direction means... Read More

Ten Steps to Take the Work out of Work ? Replicate Yourself!

They say that management can be a lonely place. A... Read More

Experiences of Management Coaching (Part 2)

In our experience, we have found that there are several... Read More

Problem-Solving Success Tip: Use Your Time for Problems that are Truly Important

Use your time for problems that are truly important.Hard as... Read More

Squeezing the Blood Out of that Old Turnip

I suspect all of you out there have someone that... Read More

Using an Appraisal to Benefit Your Organization

PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS BENEFIT THE ORGANIZATION:Appraisals help spot employees with potential... Read More

How to Coach Your Emplyees and Increase Motivation

It is easy to spot the difference between a work... Read More

Internal Prisons: The Thief of Productivity and Quality in our Workforce

As a professional speaker, one of my biggest challenges is... Read More

You Cant Not Communicate

Most of us would like to be better communicators. As... Read More

Strategies for Planning and Conducting Effective Meetings

Did you know that business executives spend about half their... Read More

How To Turn Business Losses Into Cash Flow

When the typical new business operator starts a business, they... Read More

Let the Professionals Help You Out - Outsource

As your website grows in terms of attracting more footfalls,... Read More

Difficult Employees-Poor Performance - 10 Tips for Dealing with it in the Workplace

I personally struggle with the term 'managing people' - because... Read More

Identifying Candidates for Leadership

A critical task in the succession planning process of any... Read More

The 70% Solution: Practical Testing and Version Control

"What do you mean you need to push back the... Read More

How to Approach Group Decision Making

GROUP DECISION MAKING -- IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM: Tell specifically what... Read More

Re-Discovery Procedures for Building Effective Management Systems: Phase V

Now we turn the corner to our final phase: Re-Discovery.Last... Read More

Organizational Capital in Politics, War, Sports and Business

Intangible Corporate Assets such as Organizational Capital, Blue Sky and... Read More