How to Conduct GREAT Department Head Meetings

Mar 15
Are your department head meetings long and unproductive?  

These meetings have potential to be invigorating, inspiring and unity-building- and they should be! Here are a few steps to get your meetings from boring to stimulating. In this post we’ll go over: 

1. The Impact of Friendliness
2. The Impact of Organization  
3. The Impact of Different Generations 
4. The Results  

Perhaps you’re bringing supervisors together who rarely see each other outside of these meetings. In that case, you’ll want this time spent to be focused, power-packed. You want those brainstorms to flow. 

1. The Impact of Friendliness

Hugo writes, “a more friendly workplace is a more productive one.” If you’re the one steering the meeting, focus on promoting unity and encouragement. Creating a bond of appreciation and support across different department heads means departments will be more likely to be supportive of each other. This creates a municipality that runs like a well-oiled machine.  

What are some conversations you can start to promote relationship-building amongst professionals?  

With an atmosphere of humility amongst your departments, supervisors will be more approachable. 

Conversation Pointer: If you’re the one conducting the meeting, don’t feel like you must give answers right away. It’s perfectly professional to say something like, “that’s a really good idea, I’ll get back to you.” 

2. The Impact of Organization

Here are a few steps to keep your meeting no longer than it needs to be:  

  • Come in with an agenda.

Think bullet points on the topics to be covered. People want to know what they can expect and that the meeting will be kept on track. This is a simple and effective way to respect peoples’ time. 

  • If you have someone who is long-winded, consider having a timer set for each person sharing. 

This doesn’t need to stay in your meetings forever, but it can be a useful tool in steering the direction of your meeting. Think about appointing someone as “Time Keeper”- that way “time’s up!” does not come across as rude.  

Leaving the amount of sharing time per person up to the manager’s discretion can be super helpful. If someone really has important insight to share past a “two minute per person” mark, this strategy might work best in your meeting.  

You may also consider dismissing department heads from the meeting who have already shared. However, this may not contribute to team unity.

  • Acknowledge and appreciate each other’s work.  
Give homework to each department head: Make it a requirement to come to your meetings, ready to acknowledge any good work being accomplished by a department, department head, or employee group. 

Bring different items forth that celebrate what each department is doing. Practice saying [and meaning], “We couldn’t have done it without [team member’s name]. 

  • Set a note-taker and send out notes after the meeting. 
These notes can be curated to then pass on to supervisors and employees. Consider creating a copy for supervisors only and taking out necessary information for employees only. This can vastly improve communication in your entire municipality.  

  • Before leaving, have an agenda written out for next meeting.  
This will keep your DH meetings running smoothly not just once, but as a practice. 

3. The Impact of Different Generations

Knowing how to meet your team members where they’re at is really important. Do you have employees whose ages span the five generations?  

It’s a fact that what works for effectively speaking to Millennials does not work best with Baby Boomers. For example, Millennials place high value on work-life balance, while Baby Boomers have a live-to-work mentality. Knowing how to motivate and speak to your team determines the atmosphere and productivity of your department.  

When you come to your department head meetings knowing all the cogs in your organization are functioning well, your department head meetings will run smoothly.  

If you find your department head meetings are unproductive because the individual teams are, perhaps you’re in need of some organization-wide supervisor training. To learn more about effective management styles for each generation, get on the waitlist for our training here. 

4. The Results  

Implementing the above strategies should result in growth on multiple levels. 

  • Greater respect from one department head to the next
  • Greater respect for department heads from subordinates
  • Greater unity and productivity in the workplace  

Is it too simple to say, “Treat others how you want to be treated” and the rest should fall into place?  

It’s tough being at the top, and often lonely, but you are there for a reason. So, lead humbly, show your employees that you appreciate them, and know that your efforts together as department heads impact the entire workforce in your municipality.