What format have you found most effective when holding a staff (team) meeting?
The staff (I prefer the word team) meeting is one of the most critical and sometimes not thought through part for the supervisor leading the team. As stated before, I prefer the word “team” over “staff” because I want them to feel like a part of something, that every part of the team is important and a critical part of the whole. If you aren’t careful the team meeting can become a meeting without purpose. As in all meetings, knowing “why” you gather, “what” you want to accomplish, and “where” you are taking the team—are “musts” to an effective and purposeful team meeting.
Before getting into the mechanics of having a team meeting, it is important to know that any meeting agenda can glide between a highly structured to very loose leader, depending on your personality. Neither is wrong, it is just how you are wired by God. Wherever you fall on the spectrum as a leader, this phase is important to know, “Meetings are more of an art than a science”. In other words, be flexible regardless of your personality type. If you gravitate more to the structured side, be open for the agenda to change. If you gravitate more to the loose personality type, don’t “cop out” on prepping for the meeting and using God as your excuse because the meeting didn’t go well.
You know your team best, be open to reading the mood of the team. Are you coming off a major push at the church or are you in the dog days of summer? Is a team member on a high or going through a low? It doesn’t matter whether it is personal, physical, spiritual or work related. Every aspect of what your individual team members are going through, play into how the meeting happens. This is the “art” that can change the direction of the team meeting.
A few other things to keep in mind are:
- A meeting doesn’t have to go the full time that was allotted. It may go shorter; it may go longer. Building elasticity into your schedule on the backside of your meeting will help take the presser off closing the meeting to quick if God is up to something.
- Surrender your agenda. Know that however you have the meeting planned, something might come up.
- The meeting is ALWAYS about your team. There are things to do, I get that. But things don’t trump people.
- It is okay to cancel a meeting. Sometimes your schedule, the church schedule, or other events that surround your meeting, etc. may make it necessary to cancel the meeting to relieve pressure.
- Be consistent with the rhythm of your scheduled team meeting to the best of your availability.
What makes a Team Meeting successful?
First you need to know “where” you are taking the team. As you look at the year ahead, what character pieces does your team need to strengthen for this next year to happen? What do you see as the leader that your team needs to work on? Only you as the leader can lead, so where do you want to take the team over the next year? For our team, I start praying about this in October to roll out in January. I do that by setting up a “theme” for the year. For some examples of the theme’s I have used, see www.smallgroups.net/theme for some ideas. This “theme”, plays a huge role into the weekly aspects of “what” the team meeting looks like.
Next, “what” do you want to accomplish in your team meeting? A framework I use is Devotional (spiritual, heart, vision casting), Celebrational (team, individuals, rhythms) and Practical (housekeeping, news, reminders, what’s ahead). Let me unpack these.
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For me, I want to keep our theme in front of our team, yet add the flavor of each individual team member. To do this, for the devotional side of the meeting, I let each person on the team lead a week’s devotional by letting them teach their take on a part of the theme. This way the team stays focused on the theme each week. We always want “heart”, which is their personal and team application. Sometimes the devotional is vision casting from me…my audible whenever I think we need it (I override whoever is bringing the devotional, they just wait a week).
Also, let’s look at Celebrations. This could be team accomplishments for an event or goal reached. It might be an individual celebration. Monthly we celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries. Something else we do is set natural rhythms for our team. January kick off team meeting is at my house with a White Elephant Exchange and this year’s theme teaching. Summer we do team day to relax and have fun. July, I reteach the theme at the weekly team meeting, as we have new people and a fun way to refresh our memories! December closes out our year with a Christmas team party. Dashed throughout every meeting, we try to have fun and keep it light. Serious about God, not so serious about us.
Practical is just that—those pragmatic things we must know—housekeeping, things forgotten, news on the church or what’s happening, reminders or what’s ahead this week or month to keep us on track as a team.
Finally, running in the background, as the leader, “why” are you gathering your team? On a tangible side, figure out what your meeting is costing, both in time and dollars (their salaries). Is it still worth it? On a devotional side, what in the meeting is keeping the team focused on the main thing—due North. Personally, does it add value to what you are trying to accomplish. Nobody wants another meeting, but a meeting with purpose is a game changer!