Should the Leaders Always Lead the Meetings?
I knew Hayden was nervous as he stood in front of our entire department; it was his first time leading the Monday morning meeting. Outwardly he held his own, but afterwards he confessed to me that he was nervous. I assured him that being nervous is normal. As leaders we get comfortable being the most powerful person in the room; being the voice that matters. Leading our meetings is expected, but should we always be the one doing it?
As the department head, I stopped leading our weekly department meetings a long time ago. The biggest reason was to allow our supervisors and staff to develop their leadership skills. Public speaking requires the ability to articulate ideas clearly and persuasively, fostering effective communication skills. This translates into better leadership, as team members become more proficient at communicating overall.
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld
There are many reasons people don’t want to speak in front of others: the fear of judgement, lack of confidence, fear of failure, being self-conscious, or maybe even having had a past traumatic experience. Leading a department or team meeting is an excellent first step in being recognized among their peers, growing their confidence, and getting them over that fear. Setting the person up for success is vital to them gaining the skills we want to see.
Here are 3 simple steps I do before I have a new person lead a department meeting:
1. Let them watch others lead the meeting several times.
2. Give them an agenda for the meeting, including what topics will be talked about and in what order.
3. Let them practice before the meeting if they desire to. I remind them that they do not need to be perfect, just keep the meeting moving.
As leaders we need to be reminded that recognition through the regular practice of public speaking can boost self-confidence, which is a crucial trait for any leader. Confident leaders are more likely to inspire trust and respect among their followers.
“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” ~ The Dalai Lama
Go grow your team leaders by letting them lead – one meeting at a time!