5 People Who Derail Your Meetings
When it comes to meetings, your own team is often its own worst enemy. Discussions get hijacked. Bad ideas fill whiteboards. Negative team members squash good ideas. Stronger team members dominate weaker ones. People wander off topic, cause decisions to be delayed, and act in any number of dysfunctional ways.
When you are the leader, there are certain personalities that can and will sabotage your meetings, if you allow them to. Recognize who they are and neutralize them to keep your agenda moving forward.
5 People Who Derail Meetings
1. The Dominator. A Dominator overvalues his point of view and influence. They disrupt discussions and bring their own agendas to the table. Dominators are the consummate salespeople, and have a way of grandstanding to command attention. Dominators need to be heard and either don’t understand or don’t care that an effective discussion requires that the points they make need to relate to all the other points being made.
Stop a Dominator in her tracks by acknowledging her point and then move quickly back to the current agenda item. If you don’t have a meeting agenda, then you’re going to get this behavior.
2. The Bully. A Bully will try to strong-arm the whole group into seeing it their way. Bullies speak loudly, interrupt, and attempt to speak for softer-spoken team members. Bullies are the ones in a meeting that are most apt to say something hurtful or offensive. They are insensitive, condescending, selfish, and immature. A Bully’s main objective is to win the argument, and he will use any tactic to do so.
To tame a Bully, never allow him to interrupt a discussion or use any abusive behavior. Ignoring a Bully’s behavior will only serve to encourage it.
3. The Divider. A Divider creates divisions within the team by seeking support for his viewpoint outside the meeting or starts parallel discussions during the meeting. A Divider is often silent during meetings and later undermines decisions. These people practice classic passive-aggressive behavior. Dividers don’t express their true opinions, or they may agree to something they have absolutely no intention of doing.
To stop a Divider from planning your demise, make a point of asking him questions during meetings to try to draw out his input.
4. The Pessimist. A Pessimist walks into a meeting with a negative attitude. Always. These are the naysayers and whatever you bring up, they will find reasons why it will never work. Pessimists are the ones that will wait until the entire team nears a decision and then blow the whole thing up with a series of major objections.
To keep a Pessimist from throwing a wrench in the works at the end of a meeting, set aside time early in the discussion for her to voice objections and opinions, and then shift gears to focus on making a decision.
5. The Sidetracker. A Sidetracker is the reason your 20-minute meeting is going to last an hour. They ramble, take discussions off track, go off on tangents, recount history, or delve into unnecessary detail. Sidetrackers can make good points, but it takes them forever to get there – they bury every tidbit in 10 minutes of nothing.
To stop a Sidetracker from taking the whole meeting to a far away place, ask her direct questions that cut directly to the heart of the matter. These people need to constantly be redirected.
Who are some of the meeting personalities you know?