Your best management meeting might be on the way to get some water in the kitchen.
If you have some positive reinforcement you want to provide, or some minor, gentle constructive feedback, this might be the "meeting" for you.
We live in a world of meetings—or non-meetings. When it comes to management, we normally call a meeting in a conference room or office. It's official, it's professional. Yet it can also cause anxiety for some of your employees who see it from a vantage point of concern. Being summoned to the CEO's office, or even a conference room with the CEO, can make an employee feel anxious, and less free to share information. We have to find ways, and physical settings, that don't feel like a reprimand, especially if the issue is minor.
So if you have some gentle tips on how they might be better, or some light constructive feedback, asking someone to come with you on your way to get some water, might be the path for you. It's natural—everyone drinks water, after all. It lessens the impact of the meeting, and you can find a positive, casual way to discuss a situation. When you get your water, you're not always having to look them in the eye, because you are filling up your glass. It feels less confrontational, allowing the employee to absorb the feedback in a more natural manner.
Yet the other most oft-used form of management is avoidance. We have a management issue, and we avoid it. We won't hold the meeting because it's uncomfortable, and we hope the situation gets better. Or if the situation is positive, we self-talk ourselves into "I'd like to do this but just don't have the time."
Really? We don't have the time to tell a valuable employee that they are doing a great job? To reinforce, reinvigorate, reinspire one of our top leaders? We can't just expect they are a perennial, positive treadmill. Everyone needs to know they are doing well, and not just at review time.
So take them to the kitchen. Get some water, some tea, or heat up a bagel. Tell them how impressed you are, how grateful you are for their positive attitude or for their long-term commitment to your company. It's joyful, positive, and reinvigorating, both for yourself and your team member. And you won't be able to tell anyone that you don't have time to get water. You can fit management in, at the same time, as long as it is done with care, focus and the ability to be present.
So the next time you have a brief note you'd like to deliver, ask your team member to walk with you. You'll be amazed at how effective, efficient—and caring—those 2 minutes can be.
[Image: Flickr user Indigo Skies Photography]