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How to Improve Your Staff Meetings

March 27, 2019

 

When leading a team of people, much of your success lies in your ability to communicate effectively. Although there are many forms of communication, as a team leader, a very important part of your job is running staff meetings. Staff meetings are a great way to reinforce and inspire the culture that you desire in your team.

Leading a successful staff meeting isn’t as easy as you would think. Today we will look at topics that matter (as it pertains to child care), timing and frequency, meeting schedule and why food and fun are so important.

Topics that Matter

When preparing for your staff meeting, having an overarching topic can be a great way to excite your team ahead of time and also center your meeting and discussion. One particular school year many of our staff were new to the school, we had just had a director change and we had experienced a lot of turn over. This particular year I decided to layout my staff meetings around our staffing values. I thought this was a great way to bring the “culture” I wanted back into the school.

Check out our Staffing Values Below:

  1. MAKE THE TEAM WIN
  2. CLEAR COMMUNICATION
  3. PREPARATION
  4. PASSION
  5. PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION
  6. OWNING OUTCOMES
  7. EFFECTIVENESS
  8. AUTHENTIC SPIRITUALITY
  9. BE HEALTHY

Centering our meeting topics around these nine values was the best decision I ever made. It was a great and easy way to pick meeting topics and I found I could work any other items into them as well as needed.

Overall, I suggest picking a meeting topic that addresses the individual. If you spend your time developing your team as individuals, you will not regret it. Focus and build their character, you will have a team that wants to go where you go for a lifetime.

Timing and Frequency

Timing and frequency is pretty basic to what is suggested by most. I suggest meeting one per month as a center. Once per month is more than enough time to address any topics of importance, updates and also acknowledge any team members on a regular basis.

I also suggest breaking your team into smaller groups (2’s teachers, 3’s teachers, office staff, leadership team) and having those groups meet more frequently, every two weeks works well. Appoint one leader per group (this is a great leadership opportunity for your high performers) and have them lead the small group meetings. As a director, you can choose to attend these meetings or not. In my personal opinion, more fruit can often come from these smaller meetings than the larger ones.

Meeting Schedule

  1. Break the Ice: This is the first item of the meeting. I suggest starting off with a fun group game. Having fun as a group can have so many amazing benefits to your culture and team dynamic. Have fun with your team and do it often.
  2. Create Culture: This time is used to discuss and topics as they relate to your staffing culture; values, mission/vision, staff needs. This is when I ask my team who has any topics to discuss and we use it as a sharing time as well. If you have any new team members I also recommend reviewing your mission and vision together during this section.
  3. Important Topic: The main topic is discussed in a meeting. Often it is the director who leads it, but I LOVE to have others take the lead as well. If you have a topic coming up that you think someone on your team could lead ask them ahead of time to prepare a short “message”. It is always great when the “message” is coming from a team member, not the boss.
  4. Challenge: In the challenge section I like to address changes. I discuss any areas of change that the team needs to undertake or policies that are not being followed. This is normally more of a serious section, not my favorite, but a must for a well lead team.
  5. Inspire: It is so important to inspire your team. You are the leader and they often look to you to get them through each day. Inspire your team in their job, explain and share the “why” (why they do what they do). If you have a great story about a family in the center this is a great time to share that.

Why Food and Fun?

People gather, relax and barriers are broken down when food enters into a room. During our staff meetings, I would always host our team for a small dinner meal. Feeding your team is a fun way to encourage them to connect. In the child care world especially, we are so busy, unless someone is in our classroom, we don’t have time to connect with them. Create this environment for your team and encourage connection and relationship with your team.

I mentioned above about having fun, but I will say it again, HAVE FUN WITH YOUR TEAM! It is so important to let loose and enjoy your team. If you, as the leader, are always serious your team will see that and will follow suit. After all, we are child care workers, we are trained in how to facilitate fun for others, why do we have such a hard time having fun ourselves?! Make sure to use every staff meeting as a time where your team can have fun together.

Now Lead

If you leave this blog with one take away, it would be to get together with your team on a regular basis. Coming together is super important! If you are strategic in how your team spends this time, you will be amazed to see the culture and dynamics start to shift. As leaders we have a huge responsibility, don’t take this lightly. Take the time, plan your meetings, connect and have fun with your team, and don’t forget to inspire them. After all, they have chosen to be on your team, don’t forget to lead them!

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Julia Erman
Customer Advocate
Julia Erman was previously a Director of School Programs. She is now working with Sandbox as a Customer Advocate to help centers grow and reach their goals with the help of Sandbox.
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