Meetings are an interesting place to discover how leaders understand their leadership.
As a member of several associations, I’m regularly experiencing the way leaders distinguish between meetings they call professional and those they lead in a non-professional environment. One of the most stunning details is when they start to call out, that a meeting is being held in one’s leisure time. Most often this explanation appears when some challenges appear in the meeting. A standard example is meetings running overtime.
It’s so stunning as it seems to indicate a different value for leisure time and professional time.
This difference in value seems to show itself in a lack of preparation where one’s leisure time is valued as more important than the time needed to prepare for the meeting. A practice that is quickly taken up by participants who follow the leader’s example. In the meeting, everyone’s time is then used for discussions that often will not be relevant to the meeting. They are important to the individuals or display how individuals decide to lead the meeting toward their individual interests. In that situation, one can see leisure time as valued less than professional time.
The excuse becomes that one enjoys one another’s company, that one wants to attend to everyone’s lack of available time by addressing their needs during the meeting, or that one doesn’t want to be limiting others. However, the result is that the time spent most often is more than would have been needed. It takes time away from opportunities to attend to relationships. And it results in people finding themselves limited in their ability to choose how to spend their time as it disappears in the meeting running over time. Which includes how much time they have to attend to the subject they prepared themselves for.