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The Journal Gazette

  • Herold
September 23, 2016 1:18 PM

Why leaders should speak last in meetings

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Cameron Herold knows it's tempting when you're in charge -- you could dominate most any meeting with your ideas and comments.

It may not help your business or organization in the long run, though.

Those who are more reserved need to feel free to speak up. Giving everyone a chance to speak -- soliciting their input -- can also foster a team environment.

Herold is the author of "Meetings Suck: Turning One of the Most Loathed Elements of Business Into One of the Most Valuable."

His insight is based partly on helping coach executives; he ran a business that had nearly 15 employees by the time he was 21 years old and has been invited to speak in more than 20 countries.

Herold shared several thoughts through an email on why leaders should consider speaking last in meetings.

In meetings, he said, there are typically four different personality types -- Dominant, Expressive, Analytical and Amiable. If you are a leader with Dominant and Expressive traits, it is especially important to ensure the Analyticals and Amiables are heard. But, as the leader, it’s your job to set the stage.

When you have quieter, more reserved people in a meeting, leaders should try to reserve their ideas until the end instead of offering them first, Herold said. People don’t become confident, or grow as leaders, by always first listening to a leader's ideas.

"Ask the quieter types -- the Analyticals and the Amiables -- and junior folks what they’re thinking," he wrote. "One day, those junior members will become senior leaders and the quiet types may also be required to run meetings. The more confidence they acquire under your leadership, the better, more effective leaders they will become."

And Herold points to an upside -- leaders may discover more time to focus more on the big picture.

"When subordinates can successfully manage meetings, then CEOs, their C-suite officers, and other leaders in the company will have the time and freedom to focus on higher-level initiatives," Herold wrote. "This is crucial. Time and freedom to hone in on the highest-priority tasks isn’t a mere luxury; it’s a necessity if a business is to expand and fulfill its potential."