Kickstarting the year with purpose

Now that everyone is (mostly) back from holidays and new recruits have commenced, it’s a good time to check on the purpose and effectiveness of your team meetings and to tweak anything that you would like to reset or adjust.

Team meetings provide the potential for a collaborative and inclusive setting, to share information and enhance social connection and collegiality. Those leading the meetings play an important and influential role in how this takes place.

Early in the year is a chance to reset and reaffirm how these meetings take place. For example, you could address the following across the first few meetings:

Welcome everyone

  • Greet everyone and welcome them to the new year, particularly any new members. You may also want to note any changes to roles and responsibilities, or other processes and structures that would be good to clarify and ensure everybody is across.

Share some of the big agenda items for the year

  • As leaders, and members, of complex teams and departments, many of the things we are working on are projects and initiatives that have long timelines – taking months or even years to establish and complete. Therefore, just because a new year rolls around, doesn’t mean there is a new shiny list, but more likely that these complex projects are still slowly ticking away, with spurts of activity or inactivity.
  • Take some time to share and update your team on what’s on the agenda and any latest updates. Talking about what’s important and providing updates is a way to reaffirm purpose, bolster engagement and sense of belonging.

Reaffirm team norms

  • Remind your team of how you’d like them to engage in the meetings and contribute, and how important this is to you.
  • Take a moment to again set the expectation for everyone to attend these meetings, and for it to be an open and inclusive environment.
  • Think about some ways you could support the active contributors to wait for others before talking a lot, and for new or less outspoken people to feel comfortable sharing ideas.

Contact preferences

  • Consider sharing something with your team about your expectations to for how you will check-in with them across the year (e.g., one-on-one catch ups, performance review meetings, chats in the corridor). For example, you may say that you are looking forward to catching up with everyone individually over the coming months, and that they are welcome to contact you now if there is something urgent they would like to discuss.
  • Also consider sharing a little of your schedule and availability and how you prefer to be contacted (e.g., a particular email address, number to call or text, etc). Many leaders fear that by sharing information like this they may be flooded with meeting requests; however in my experience this rarely happens. Rather, people find this information reassuring, and knowing that their leader is thinking about their team, allows them to be thoughtful and considerate in making a request. There is no right way; but if you are looking for an effective collaborative team, openness to (short) meetings and communicating is key.

There is no need to do everything all at once! Thinking about what you will say in the team meeting and planning a few tweaks to the usual practice doesn’t have to be a big deal, and doesn’t have to happen within one meeting. Often, the leaders I speak to worry that they aren’t prepared enough, they haven’t done enough, or projects and ideas haven’t progressed enough to talk about them. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that your team know that you are thinking about them, and have a ‘team mentality’ for the year – that you are collaborative, that you care about them, and that you would like open communication lines with everyone.

The intention of these short ‘Leadership Insights is to share some important and meaningful concepts and ideas re effective leadership, and some practical insights for how you can bring these to life in your context. Keep an eye out for them every two weeks in the Check-up.  

Anna Clark

Dr Anna Clark is AMAVs leadership consultant, coach and educator, currently offering individual leadership coaching for both senior medical staff (6 month program) and (12 month program) and doctors in training, as well as directing the AMA’s professional development programs in leadership, the Emerging Leader Program (group and individual) and the Middle Leader Program (group and individual).

Please email [email protected] or book a leader check-in if you would like to speak with a member of our team.