Do You Make This Mistake In Team Meetings?

Walking in to a regular weekly team meeting with an agenda is a very short term gain, and an unfortunate long term loss. 

As a team leader it seems like you should walk into your team meetings prepared, which is absolutely true. The problem is that a predetermined agenda isn’t the BEST POSSIBLE solution. When you as the team leader are the only one deciding what needs to be talked about you are VERY likely to eventually miss the mark. Best case scenario, the meeting is not nearly as valuable to your team members as it could be. 

Making sure that everyone is on the same page is of upmost importance. It’s the reason why we have team meetings, but they are expensive (even if the room is full of volunteers.) And as a leader it’s your responsibility to make sure you are moving towards accomplishing your goal week after week, right? 


When you are the only one responsible for creating the meeting agenda, you are the one that has to prepare for the meeting (that’s 30 minutes you could be doing something else more productive) and it means you’ve got to be pretty confident that you aren’t missing anything. It means that your team is relying entirely on your leadership. 

When you write the agenda, you become the central gear in the machine. It only works when you think of everything. That’s exhausting and a recipe for uninformed decisions. 

Walking in to your team meeting with an agenda, in the short term, ensures that the meeting flows. It ensures a start, middle and end. It ensures that you get what you think needs to be done accomplished. But it doesn’t instill ownership. It passes ownership of organizational issues to you. That’s good if your a control freak, not good if your trying to build an organization that is constantly increasing it’s impact. It creates short term control, but in the long term, underdeveloped team members. 

Your Next Team Meeting

You can have some items you need to cover, but if you're the only person driving the agenda that means without you the team can't function. As a leader, our ultimate goal is to keep our team moving towards our goals and doing their best work for the organization. This means moving your individual team members towards owning the entire teams progress, not completing your to do list, right? 

Instead of walking into your meeting with an agenda, try this:

Team Updates

  1. Start your meeting by ask each team member to outline (in 30 seconds or less) what they are currently working. If it’s the same thing they were working on last week, have them outline the process they’ve made . 


  1. Assuming you’ve already identified this quarters goals, spend time reviewing your goals as a team 
  2. Then identifying your team's next most impactful steps. What is the most impactful action the team can take to move towards accomplishing it's goals?

Team Work

  1. As the team leader, clearly outline what you need from your team over the next week. 
  2. Ask team members what they individually need from you and from the rest of the team.  

It’s not your job to write the agenda, it’s your job to make sure your team accomplishes its goals! The ultimate test as to wether or not you’ve designed a effective weekly team meeting is to see what happens when you’re not there? Does your team still make progress or do they stall? 

Question: What happens with your team meeting when you’re not there? Leave your comment below.