A staff meeting is one in which a supervisor and all of his subordinates participate, and which therefore presents in opportunity for interaction among peers. Peer interaction- especially decision-making by a group of peers–is not easy. Yet it is key to good management. The approach to decision-making depend on a group of peers working well together. By learning how this happens in staff meetings, where a group of peers get to know each other, and where the presence of a common supervisor helps peer interaction to develop, managers will be prepared to be members of other working bodies based on peer groups.

Staff meetings also create opportunities for the supervisor to learn from the exchange and confrontation that often develops.

What should be discussed at a staff meeting?

Anything that affects more than two of the people present. If the meeting degenerates into a conversation between two people working on a problem affecting only them, the supervisor should break it off and move on to something else that will include more of the staff, while suggesting that the two continue their exchange later.

How structured should the meeting be?

It should be mostly controlled, with an agenda issued far enough in advance that the subordinates will have had the chance to prepare their thoughts for the meeting. But it should also include an “open session” a designated period of time for the staff to bring up anything they want. This is when a varied set of housekeeping matters can be disposed of, as well as when important issues can be given a tentative first look.

If it is justified, you can provide time for a more formal discussion about an issue in the scheduled portion of a future meeting.

What is the role of the supervisor in the staff meeting?

A leader, observer, expediter, questioner and a decision-maker. Please note that lecturer is not listed. A supervisor should never use staff meetings to pontificate, which is the surest way to undermine free discussion and hence the meeting’s basic purpose.

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