Use Meetings to Build RelationshipsMeetings are a part of life for many leaders. Some hate them, some view them as a waste of time, and others simply walk away unsure of what that last 40 minutes was even about.

There are numerous ways to improve meetings, from communicating what will be discussed to setting a time limit, but in the end, they should always be useful for your team.

Mary Jo Asmus, contributor to SmartBlog on Leadership, poses an interesting take on meetings. She suggests you use them to build relationships that make your workplace thrive.

Meetings don’t have to be boring. They can be for making a decision or setting a course of action, but they are also excellent exercises in collaboration, discussion, and feedback. Like Asmus says, they are a great place to build relationships among your team members. Employees who forge good relationships and work well together are more productive and have a better attitude.

“What we really need is to have meetings that allow relationships to deepen, where participants help each other to grow and succeed together,” says Asmus. “In addition to actionable items, a good meeting could increase trust among the participants, thereby promoting deeper relationships and more post-meeting connections and engagement.”

She offers some ideas to consider for better meetings.

Set Clear Intentions

Let the participants know the purpose of the meeting, whether it’s to build relationships, brainstorm, or cultivate participation. It will help them prepare and having everyone on the same page increases efficiency.

Meeting Space

If you can choose where you’ll meet, pick a casual area. “Somewhere where participants can relax and ‘let their hair down,’” says Asmus. Round tables and comfortable chairs make a space informal, which is a great way to start conversations and build relationships.

Set Guidelines

Asmus suggests you set some ground rules such as:

Break the Ice

Start with a personal question each person in the room can answer briefly. It loosens everyone up, and gets them all to engage in the conversation. It also provides information for post-meeting chats among the participants, and they may even find they have something in common. Examples of questions include:

Let Participants Talk

Tell the participants you will act as the facilitator of the conversation, not the presenter. To do this, try assigning agenda items to others so they can contribute to the conversation, and only ask questions to stimulate dialog if you notice a lag in the meeting. Asmus says to aim to listen 80 percent of the time and talk the other 20 percent.

Meet in Smaller Groups

If no one wants to speak up or the conversation is stifled, break people up into smaller groups, and pose a question for them to discuss. “This is often a more comfortable way for people to speak up,” says Asmus.

Use meetings to strengthen internal networks. This will ultimately lead to improved collaboration, problem solving, and higher morale.

Do you use meetings to build connections between employees?

Rewards and Incentives Can Improve Poor Employee PerformanceEvery workplace experiences poor employee performance at one time or another. You may have a stable of high-functioning workers, but it seems there’s always one or two who constantly struggle or fail to live up to expectations.

What can you do about them?

Design an effective reward and incentive program to encourage employee performance, says Jennifer Vecchi in an article for Talent Management Magazine.

She offers several tips to jump-start a lagging employee performance through the use of enhanced communication, and a personalized approach to “fixing” the situation.

Get to the Root of the Problem

You need to know what issues the employee has before you will be able to figure out how to correct them. Is the problem related to a lack of training or the absence of skills needed for his or her specific job duties?

See How the Employee “Fits In”

Successful employees are good at finding their place within their company's culture. Poor performers may experience difficulties because they fall outside what Vecchi calls the “core demographics”—resulting in a lack of engagement with the business environment, other employees, or both.

“Continuous training and interoffice gatherings, social or business related, can help alleviate feelings of not fitting in with peers,” she says.

One-Size-Fits-All Won’t Work

If several employees aren't performing up to standard, a “one-size-fits-all” approach to rewards and incentives will likely fall flat.

Instead, gather information about each employee’s particular interests or hobbies. Do they enjoy camping or water sports? Do they read a lot?

As Vecchi notes, “By matching rewards to their interests, (you) can create a more personalized approach to demonstrate caring and motivate employees.”


Sometimes even the appeal of a reward isn't enough on its own to fully correct poor performance. “For some, the prize may seem too far from reach,” Vecchi says. “Remind employees that their small, daily efforts can have a huge impact."

It’s important to keep the lines of communication open and help chart progress toward the goal.

Consider an Alternate Solution

There will be times when the reward and incentive program just doesn’t work because an employee has become too bored or complacent to change. In this case, one useful alternative is offering them a different role, “Perhaps one featuring newer experiences to remind them what they liked about the company in the first place,” says Vecchi.

As unpromising as this may sound, Vecchi reminds us it’s a lot less costly to reposition an employee, rather than replace him or her outright.

Sometimes Employee Performance Isn't There

If employee performance does not improve for an individual and he or she can’t be motivated by a reward or incentive, you run the risk of allowing their negative attitude to infect the rest of your team. An individual like this probably should be terminated. It’s the best action to take for both the unmotivated employee and the good of your team.

Employee rewards and incentives are one method you can use to motivate employees to change work habits. When employee performance improves, so does your business.

What reward and incentive program for employee performance works for you?


chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram