Cancel That Meeting

Want a quick win and get staff on your side?

You might not need to get staff on your side. They might already be there passing the ball to you and working as a team. But teams need constant maintenance and looking after.

There are some quick wins that can help and some are a little on the crafty side. I’m not sure how comfortable you feel about doing this but one respected Headteacher (Mrs M) I knew had one or two tricks up her sleeve. One of these involved organising meetings…and then cancelling them.

She did this every now and again so not to arouse suspicion but the strategy was simple and it worked. She said it was to help her staff feel supported and I should know because I was one of them! She revealed this to me recently so it’s news to me but looking back I can say it worked…in a fashion.

When staff are busy then the last thing they want is a meeting out of the blue. Mrs M would send an email to say there was a meeting next week on Monday after school and everyone would groan and moan like mad.

Then, in a morning staff briefing a couple of days later she would then cancel the meeting and say, “I know everyone is busy so I’m just going to cancel the meeting and let you good people get on with your jobs” – the relief in the room was palpable and everyone would leave with a spring in their step.

Scheduling and then cancelling a meeting is an unusual way of “keeping the troops happy” and it isn’t something to be encouraged either. We don’t need to hoodwink staff and make them feel grateful because this is surreptitious.

The best policy, as always, is to be honest with people. Setting up fake meetings and then ditching them to get people motivated and liking you is an underhanded way of doing things. Instead of inventing a meeting and cancelling it, a better way would be to actually cancel actual meetings instead! Some schools have meeting mania and drown their staff in them so give them a break!

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