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Knockout Staff Meetings

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
Knockout Staff Meetings

Knockout Staff Meetings

How to Take Your Staff Meetings from Mundane to Meaningful


Challenge #1: With every organization or school we support, we have heard the struggle to create and honor time for staff meetings or development. When leading a presentation on this topic, I asked 300 participants if they “feel their leaders spend adequate time on staff development” and only 6% said yes! This is in an industry where we are striving to develop others and yet, why aren’t we taking the time to develop ourselves?

Challenge #2: When we do create the time to meet with and develop our staff, we have seen that the attendance rate isn’t as high as we would have hoped. This is a constant area of examination for our organization too. How do we create meetings they look forward to attending?

Challenge #3: If and when they do come, the time together is often saturated with the leader’s need to share information: grant requirements, license regulations, educational standards, etc. With so much policy and procedure to discuss, how do we prioritize time for the ‘feel-good’ stuff?

The answer to all 3 of these challenges lies in our consistent and creative ability to facilitate engaging, meaningful, ‘fill up their bucket’ types of meetings. Engagement doesn’t need to come at the cost of imparting content. With the information we all need to share as leaders, ensure you are also including activities, games, brainstorms, and group opportunities that do the following:

Build Team: Create opportunities for staff to learn more about each other and share common purpose. A team will typically go through the stages of form-norm-storm-perform as they evolve. It’s the leader’s responsibility to give them space to go there.   

Address Challenges: Hold a space for sharing and unpacking challenges in your meetings and keep the space safe and open to talking about failure. This can create a healthy environment for group problem solving while increasing the trust of the group.  

Celebrate Successes: It’s always important to take time to focus on what’s working. Create opportunities to recognize excellence in your staff as a way to applaud and replicate high expectations. Share moments to identify best practices to encourage group learning and healthy team morale while encouraging each individual to reach their highest potential.

Final Commitment: Carve out time to create a well-designed and facilitated meeting and watch your staff attendance, engagement and morale increase. Check out Warm Ups, Icebreakers, and Games, Oh My! to get warm-up and group facilitation ideas that can support your balance of the components above. Onward and upward as you build strong leaders in your schools and organizations!

“Knockout Staff Meetings”, The Leadership Program, Inc. 2016

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.