Where Leaders Come to Think

4 Best Practices of the Business Huddle


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Communication often makes or breaks leadership effectiveness.  Yesterday at a company development session we learned about how communication affects a leader’s ability to be inclusive.  The fact is that many team members want to know how their daily efforts impact the company’s overall objectives.

It’s what most team members cry out for.  Everyone wants to know that what they are doing actually matters.

We found that it’s the leader’s job to communicate and teach others to do the same.  It was interesting to discover that many times a breakdown occurs when making a switch from follower to leader.  This is when you switch roles from meeting attendee to meeting organizer.

What we don’t need is more painful, drab meetings –what we do need is more efficient lively ones.

But business huddling is a process that needs to be emulated by every leader at every level of the company.  How we meet and communicate sets the tone for how others feel they are being communicated with.

Here are 4 Best Practices of the Business Huddle

  1. Set Boundaries.  In football you only have so much time to set each play in motion.  It should be the same in business and life.  Time, not money is our greatest asset; yet rarely do we guard it.  Being intentional about how we spend our time in the huddle is important as leaders set the agenda including a time frame and goal.  Think about your meeting before you call one.
  2. Communicate Clearly.  Like Paul Harvey’s the rest of the story.  The first huddle was held to overcome a handicap.  The team was hearing impaired.  In the huddle, I imagine that a clear efficient pattern of sending and receiving the message was formed.  This is also a great strategy for team meetings.  How do you make sure this is happening?  Ask solid questions that test understanding.  “Mark, can you tell me one or two take-a-ways from our time together?”
  3. Take Notes.  Don’t rely on that steel trap memory.  Sometimes the coffee is simply not strong enough.  Great leaders are great note takers.  They are able to understand important elements of the communications write them down then convey them accurately later.  This is important in making the transition from follower to leader.
  4. Don’t Procrastinate.  After your meeting is over the last thing you want to do is hold another one.  However, great leaders understand what the most important things to communicate are and never delay in sending the message out to the individuals they serve as leader.

One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is thinking that sending an email will save you time.  Normally, this does not happen.  For the average leader it takes more time to construct a well written note and send it out to the team.  Then you have the inevitable questions that must be answered one-by-one as they occur.

The huddle still remains the most efficient way of communicating – provided everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.

Organizations can learn to be more inclusive by becoming better communicators.  While technology can help to augment our messages nothing beats the effectiveness of an old-fashioned huddle.  What began as a desperate measure to help a team compete in football is now a mission critical discipline of the leadership process.

“And now you do know the rest of the story.”

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