What Are Leadership Meetings? (And How to Plan Productively)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 7, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Within a business structure, leaders and leadership teams often require an opportunity to meet and communicate important topics. One of the most common and effective ways for leaders to do this is through regular meetings. Understanding what these meetings are, why they're important, and how to make them effective is key to facilitating collaborative and productive meetings for leaders. In this article, we define leadership meetings, explain why they're important, provide steps for planning successful meetings, and outline the elements of effective meetings.

What are leadership meetings?

Leadership meetings are critical opportunities for a company's leadership team to communicate, discuss, and collaborate. These meetings can be useful for providing important updates to other leaders or to collectively approach challenges. Management meetings often follow a pre-written agenda, which outlines the key topics to discuss and the outcomes the meeting's leaders seek to achieve. While it's typical for leadership meetings to take place in person, it's also common for leaders to meet online via video conference. The central goal of these meetings is to facilitate decision-making, problem solving, and goal-alignment.

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Why are leadership meetings important?

Leaderhsip meetings are essential to businesses, as they provide an opportunity to communicate together in person, rather than through other slower communication channels, such as e-mail or instant messaging platforms. By collecting important management team members into a discussion space, they can collaborate more efficiently. In these meetings, those running the meeting can ensure that attendees all have the same access to important updates and the opportunity to offer input. Because of their different responsibilities, team leaders often offer a variety of perspectives, allowing for more comprehensive collaboration.

Management team meetings also provide a valuable opportunity for members to bond and build professional relationships. Effective meetings can also leave attendees feeling inspired, enthusiastic, and optimistic. Not only do management meetings facilitate conversation, which stimulates the activity of the business, but they also help these teams to build trust between its members.

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How to plan successful leadership meetings

Here are a few simple steps you can follow to plan an effective leadership meeting:

1. Design the meeting's agenda

The first step in planning a productive meeting for the management team is to construct a well-considered agenda. An effective meeting agenda creates a plan of content which helps attendees stay on topic, cover all necessary discussion points, and not run overtime. An agenda doesn't simply list the topics to address, but also provides a context for each item. Including supplementary documents or notes in a meeting agenda can also make it easier for all attendees to prepare for the meeting.

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2. Send the agenda prior to the meeting

An important step is to send the meeting agenda to the leadership team prior to the commencement of the meeting. This allows the meeting's attendees to review the meeting's topics and prepare for the discussion. It also gives them an opportunity to review any supplementary documents, such as reading and observing spreadsheets, graphs, and presentations. This means that attendees can prepare any questions they have or raise any concerns prior to the meeting. You can also ask if anyone wishes to add an item to the agenda to ensure the meeting represents all interests.

3. Consider the meeting's priorities

Once you've gathered all the essential elements of your agenda and sent it to the attendees, you can consider the order of listed items to prioritize them appropriately. Prioritize the most important items by arranging them first on the agenda. This ensures that the meeting addresses the most important topics before moving onto other, less urgent items. That way, less important items can move to the next meeting once attendees have covered all the most essential discussion points.

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4. Set meeting goals

An essential component of meeting planning is to establish clear and actionable goals for the gathering. Make a note of the objective of each topic so that throughout the meeting, you can ensure that discussing each point results in progress. For example, if an agenda item is to discuss hiring new employees to fill employment gaps, you may set objectives to decide on a number of new employees to hire, a hiring period, or a list of departments who require employees before the meeting is complete.

5. Take time to prepare

Once you've structured your agenda, it's wise to take some time to ensure that you're prepared to run the meeting. This can involve checking that all additional presentation content or supplementary documents are in order and accessible. Preparing for a leadership meeting can also mean checking that any meeting spaces or conference technology is ready and available to use. Not only does preparing for a meeting involve planning the structural component, but also considering if there are any elements you can add to make it more enjoyable, such as coffee or tea, snacks, or introductory activities.

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Elements of effective leadership meeting

Here are some guidelines for effective meetings which can make them more conducive to discussion, collaboration, and productivity:

Effective meetings result in actionable steps

A productive management team meeting doesn't only establish goals for what to achieve in the meeting itself, but sets actionable goals for the next steps after the gathering. For example, if an agenda item is to discuss introducing a new product, while concluding this topic, you may create an actionable goal to begin this process. Here, setting a goal ensures that the meeting results in a course of action by assigning a responsibility to key stakeholders.

For instance, the objective may be for a product owner or brand manager to conduct research on demand for the top products in the market. Assigning responsibility is key in this process, so ensure that each task has an owner before the conclusion of the meeting. That way, when the team meets again, all members know who has been responsible for completing a task since the last meeting.

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Each item concludes with a summary

To ensure that the group covers each topic sufficiently, it's wise to summarize each topic at its conclusion before moving on to the next. This can be as simple as a brief statement, including all discoveries, conclusions, or actionable steps the group reaches. Summarizing each topic can be especially helpful when reviewing meeting notes or minutes after the meeting has concluded. A summary can include all key discussion points and the outcome.

The meeting is professional yet enjoyable

Although a management team meeting is a professional gathering, it's also important that they're enjoyable. If a meeting is engaging, it can increase productivity and increase focus throughout. To make a meeting more enjoyable, you can introduce comforts, such as refreshments, or treats, such as snacks. If a meeting is long, you can add small breaks to the agenda, giving attendees a chance to use the bathroom or find a refreshment.

Including breaks can help participants come back to the meeting with renewed focus. If there are any pleasant updates, such as good news or funny stories, including them on the agenda can also improve enjoyment throughout the meeting.

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The meeting works with everyone's schedule

Consideration of the schedules of all attendees is essential for important management team meetings. If it suits every attendee's schedule, a meeting can continue without any absences. Similarly, it's important to be considerate of others' schedules to avoid running overtime or starting early. Leaders often have busy schedules, so it's important that the meeting is convenient for their timekeeping.

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The meeting facilitates focus

Meetings with leadership often cover important topics, and so it's vital that these gatherings are free of distractions. Common distractions include phone calls, notifications, personnel interruptions, or technology malfunctions. With as few distractions as possible, meetings may stay on topic and sustain productivity. It's common to request that all meeting attendees turn their phones to silent mode or enable a do not disturb function.

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