If you are like most leaders, you struggle to run effective meetings. In this post you’ll discover 15 resources to help you run better team meetings. The urge will be to scroll to the bottom and grab them.
To make those resources even more effective, take a moment to step into Cindy’s kitchen….
Imagine a young girl, Cindy is in the kitchen with her grandma, who is teaching Cindy how to bake buns. Cindy hopes to learn how to make buns that the whole family raves about as they do her grandmas.
As the older lady hovers over Cindy’s shoulder, she guides Cindy through the process.
Yet, after all that guidance, Cindy’s buns flop!
What the heck!
Go back to that movie in your mind of the scene in the kitchen. Look a little closer at Cindy as she was being taught how to bake. Did you notice she had earplugs in her ears? As her grandma was teaching, mentoring and coaching her, Cindy never heard a word her grandma said! Cindy just did it her way.
If you could get into Cindy’s head, you may have even heard her say: Hurry up, Grandma, I’ve got things to do outside!
It’s no wonder Cindy struggled to learn how to bake stellar buns!
Cindy now leads a team of frontline workers in a small nonprofit. Instead of trying to figure out how to bake buns, Cindy is currently struggling with team meetings.
Each go-around, Cindy brings her agenda and stacks of handouts to the meeting. As she works her way through the items, the room is relatively quiet. No one participates. They don’t volunteer ideas or add value to the conversation. Team members don’t offer to help out when she asks for volunteers, so Cindy assigns tasks.
When Cindy gets to the sensitive topics, she feels everyone tense up, and Cindy prays that no one will push back today as has happened during the past.
Cindy hopes things will change
Each go-around, Cindy goes in, hoping something will be different.
But nothing changes. After the meeting, Cindy tosses her stack of notes on her desk and lets out a sigh. Another one done. Cindy doesn’t have to worry about team meetings again until the next one.
Hope without action is futile!
Here’s the problem, if Cindy wants something different, she needs to do something different.
If Cindy desires increased team engagement, buy-in and action, she would need to change something she is doing. Last week, we talked about hoping things change. And we learned that without action, hope is futile. Hope alone won’t make the difference.
Are you like Cindy?
Cindy is like many women leaders. They don’t take the time to learn new things. Despite tons of resources, guides, coaches and mentors available to them, many leaders tune the learning opportunities out.
I get it...Nonprofits are tough!
Nonprofits are notorious for being crisis-driven. There is always something demanding your attention. If it isn’t a client crisis, it’s team drama, the fundraising event, a shortage of staff, proposal or grant writing, year-end or accreditation time. Stress, busyness and crises never end.
2 beliefs that don't help
Therefore, most women leaders believe they don’t have the time to step back and learn how to run better meetings, create more engaged employees, improve team culture or find improved work-life balance.
What’s more, they often don’t believe nonprofit specific resources and training are readily available.
Let me provide insight on both of those points.
1) You won’t find the time. You need to make time.
What’s more, it won’t take a lot of time, just intentionality.
2) There are a plethora of nonprofit resources available.
There is no lack of training, books, courses, blogs, podcasts, trainers, coaches or mentors available to nonprofit leaders. But if the podcast is never listened to or the course never worked on, you won’t learn.
If you don’t invest the time (action) to learn and then the energy to practice (more action), all the hope in the world won’t change the outcome of your team meetings.
To improve your team meetings, you need to do 3 things:
1) Take responsibility for improving your team meetings.
No more waiting, hoping or blaming.
2) Commit to growing yourself.
In this week’s video I talked about how to think your way to thriving. In the video you will learn how to use your growth mindset to organize your learning and growth.
3) Add action to your hope.
Start with the resources below.
When you commit to ongoing personal and professional development you’ll find more success leading highly engaged and effective teams.
Oh, and bonus….you’ll be happier!
Do you want to be more focused and intentional about your growth and development? Join me on Feb. 20th for this month's webinar: Develop Your Personalized Curriculum for Leadership Development
15 resources to help you run better team meetings
Beth Kanter’s Blog
The Small Nonprofit Podcast
Me on…The Meeting Leadership Podcast
Blogs post on my website
Webinars in The Training Library that will help you run better meetings:
Courses in the Training Library that will help you run better meetings
In a recent coaching session, Annabel said to me, I just pray things will change. I pray "they'" will quit, so I don’t have to deal with them. Then, things can get back to normal.
I took a breath, then gently said:
Perhaps Annabel, instead of praying for someone else to do something, you could pray for help to be a better person, in fact, a better leader.
Annabel was quiet, but I could feel how incredulous she felt
I continued, suggesting that instead of asking for a miracle ⚡️like that person quits, that Annabel instead ask for help, support, guidance, strength, insights, and courage to be more patient, brave, direct, clear, inspiring, or motivating,
Again, Annabel was quiet, but this time, her quietness seemed open to hearing more, so I went on
I reminded her of the lesson we learned early in life, but rarely seem to heed: You can’t change anyone else. You can only change yourself.
Do you rely on hope?
Leaders often hope others will change. And hope alone is pretty useless.
Let me explain.
The dictionary defines hope as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
Is hope one of your top character strengths?
I’ve often suggested to you to complete your Virtues in Action Signature Strengths test. If you have, you may have found, like me, that one of your top character strengths is hope. But let me share their description of hope as a character trait:
Most nonprofits live in crisis management mode
Most days, as a leader, things are less than perfect. Your team probably needs some work. The sector throws curve balls left and right. Clients and customers bring new challenges. As a result, you are left playing whack-a-mole, trying to decide what fire to put out first.
But hoping tomorrow will be a better day, only goes so far.
You must MAKE tomorrow a better day.
You can't hope your way out of crisis mode!
You are probably saying, but Kathy, it’s not like I haven’t tried! True. You’ve probably tried very hard!
Here's what to add to hope:
Here’s the thing though, it might be time to try something different. Instead of fixing your team, solving the problems, putting out fires, dealing with the crisis of the day, it might be time instead to focus on growing you!
Back to Annabel
Annabel’s plea, Dear God, please just fix things🙏🏻is echoed across nonprofits every day! Her hope that things will change gets dampened day after day. And, if she’s not careful, her hope will turn to cynicism, bitterness and she will lose all faith that she can do much more than just survive each day.
I asked Annabel what kind of impact she wanted to have with her staff.
Annabel needs to focus on her growth
Perhaps I suggested that you would need to be a leader who inspired others and motivated them. I went on to talk about the traits of inspiring and motivating leaders such as compassion, patience, courage, fairness, humour, perspective, humility, the ability to self-regulate and to see things from different perspectives.
Annabel sighed. I don’t remember learning any of that in college.
Nope, they typically aren’t taught in your social work class, rehab degree, or when you got your fundraising certification.
That doesn’t mean you can’t learn them.
Do you have these same mistaken beliefs?
Where many leaders get caught up is these 3 mistaken beliefs:
You won’t find the time to work on yourself. You have to make the time
You don’t need to know how you need the willingness to figure out how
Soft skills don’t just count. Soft skills ARE Leadership. Leadership isn’t doing things; Leadership is being the type of person who inspires and motivates people towards a future vision. That’s about the kind of person you are.
Being a strong leader starts with your mindset. It would help if you believed you could grow and learn.
Where many of us are, is stuck with a fixed mindset. I’ll never learn to address conflict. I can’t set boundaries. I’ll never be able to be organized enough to pull agendas together two days before staff meetings.
Your fixed mindset keeps you stuck where you are, hoping, but losing faith.
Remember, you need hope + action. That requires a growth mindset. Instead of being fixed and stuck, a growth mindset inspires you to figure it out.
When you have a growth mindset, you believe that with effort, time and hard work (and hope) that you can learn new skills and ways of being.
Notice your thoughts this week. How often do you say, pray or plea that something outside of you will change? When you do, flip it back to yourself and ask a question like this:
These kinds of questions will help you develop your growth mindset and enjoy impactful leadership. Learn more about how to adopt a growth mindset here
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.