You are in one of your regular team meetings and taking your usual position of command-and-control and leading the discussion. You are the boss after all, so it is your role, right? According to a new study by a team of researchers from the University of Michigan, Harvard University and Duke University, you could be wrong!
This study looked into the effects of two different types of leaders; those who used their leadership to assert power and those who were more willing to take a back-seat during meetings. The more powerful leaders tended to dominate discussions and were less open to asking the opinions of their teams. These team leaders spent on average one-third of the meeting talking, compared to just 19% for the less domineering managers. This had a harmful effect on the team’s performance as the authors of the study explained; “By doing most of the talking, powerful formal leaders conveyed a sense that they were not open to others’ input, and this dynamic produced a lower level of team performance, as measured by the team’s ability to reach their goals in the simulation”.
When managers let the power ‘go to their heads’ too much, the result of this can stump their team’s performance levels, conversation is restricted and teamwork is badly affected. The key is to structure your team so that open communication is promoted and employees feel comfortable in participating; knowing their opinion is valued.
It is vital that feelings of power do not culminate into the devaluing of others’ perspectives and opinions. Contributions from your team may be just what you need to finalise a project, find a new approach or result in an innovative success that may not have otherwise happened.
What role do you take during meetings? Could a collaboration of control be what is needed?