Manager meetings are typically a regular occurance in any company’s calendar. These high-level discussions help you stay united, solve challenges, and shape your company’s culture.
While these meetings can feel expensive and time-consuming, there’s often no better way to make decisions and change the course of your company.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What is a manager meeting?
- Why manager meetings are essential
- Key topics to discuss at manager meetings
- How to make your manager meetings more effective
Let’s take a closer look at manager meetings, why they’re valuable, and how you can optimize yours for even greater success.
What is a manager meeting?
A manager meeting, also known as a management meeting, is a gathering of all your managers to discuss business. They’re an opportunity to share ideas, discuss challenges, and make decisions.
Most companies choose a weekly meeting cadence for managers, keeping a dedicated time open so it becomes a regular event in their calendars. Manager meetings can take place in person or over video call, so you can stay in touch and keep your teams connected wherever they are.
Why manager meetings are essential
With team meetings and one-on-one meetings already in the schedule, it’s easy to think you can go without scheduling manager meetings — but that’s not the case. This type of meeting gives you an unrivaled opportunity to:
- ➡️ Practice decision making and move the company forward
- 😊 Build trust and better working relationships between individual managers
- 🔑 Share key information with all team leaders at once
- ❔ Promote problem solving and analytical skills
- 💡 Make space for brainstorming and innovative thinking
- 📣 Share ideas and strategies across the company
- ⭐ Identify potential mentors for new managers
- 🔗 Build connections between different teams
Management meetings are one of the best ways not only to communicate with managers, but to foster relationships and encourage valuable skill building. They’re an ideal place to share ideas, rework processes, overcome roadblocks, and make practical changes.
Key topics to discuss at manager meetings
We know manager meetings are highly valuable, but what should the agenda look like? Every management team will be different, but these are some of the topics you’ll find on most manager meeting agendas:
- ❗ Important company updates
- 📰 Status updates on key projects and initiatives
- 🛑 Roadblocks and challenges
- 🌟 Success stories and good news
- 📈 Growth plans and timelines
- 📊 KPIs, metrics, and milestones
- 🧑 Staffing updates
While there’s room for conversation and sharing ideas, management meetings tend to be very work-focused. You can (and should) enjoy a Zoom icebreaker before you start or a virtual high-five to celebrate the wins, but when it’s time to talk business, make efficiency a priority.
8 ways to make your manager meetings more effective
Whether you’re a new manager or a seasoned pro, there’s always room to improve or experiment with a new meeting management strategy. Here’s how to run effective meetings for your management teams:
1. Invite the right people
When you organize a meeting, only invite the people who absolutely need to be there. For a management meeting, that’s likely to be everyone that acts as a manager or leader within your organization.
In a big company, that could get overwhelming and make working together to make decisions harder. If that’s the case, experiment with a different meeting cadence until you find one that works. You could always run a full management meeting once a month, and meet with your key leadership team each week to cover time-sensitive matters.
2. Capture agenda items in an agenda template
The best agendas are made collaboratively. Encourage your managers to submit their ideas for agenda items or topics to discuss, then use a meeting agenda template to simplify the process.
Use our Meeting Prep template to gather ideas and suggestions from your management team quickly and easily. Once your managers submit their requests, you can manage all those ideas from one place to build the blueprint for a successful meeting.
3. Send materials in advance
Time is valuable, so don’t spend your meeting reviewing new docs with your management team. Always send your agenda along with any materials and reports in advance, so you can make the most of your time together.
Not only does sending your materials in advance make your meeting more efficient, but it means you make better decisions. Everyone can fully review the data and background information, analyze it, reflect, and come to the meeting prepared with a decision or their own ideas.
4. Create space to celebrate wins
Even when things feel challenging and overwhelming, you can always find something to celebrate. Create dedicated space on your meeting agenda to share good news, get excited about your wins, and celebrate personal and professional success.
Move this to the start of your agenda for a better way to begin your manager meetings. Share excitement about a client win, a project that’s going well, a team member’s new certification, or an opportunity that could bring huge benefits to the company. Let this be a moment that reminds everyone why you’re here and what you’re working towards.
5. Don’t shy away from raising issues
Management meetings are a place to discuss challenges and come up with solutions. Don’t avoid raising an issue or bringing a matter to the table, even if it’s awkward.
It’s best to transparently share issues and comments before they escalate, so encourage your managers to clearly outline them on the agenda so there are no surprises. Not only does this help everyone prepare better, but it’s a great way to make introverted attendees feel more at ease, as they don’t feel the pressure to raise it during the meeting.
At Polly, we have a dedicated “hard conversations” section on our weekly leadership meeting agenda. It’s a place to talk about items that weren’t already raised in the meeting and need to be addressed even though they might be tough to talk about.
6. Review and act on feedback from your teams
While they’re not present at manager meetings, your team members and direct reports can still influence the discussion. Make space on your agenda to review feedback from team members and use this to shape the company’s processes, culture, and direction for the better.
Encourage your team members to share ideas and feedback with Polly’s Open Forum. It’s an ideal place to gather critical feedback and suggestions at any time, anonymously. Check in often to identify ideas and challenges. Share these with the management team so you can share ideas, proactively tackle issues, and make changes together.
7. Recap action items
Manager meetings are filled with decisions and specific actions for people to carry out. Take careful notes about these and share them with everyone at your meeting.
For best results, highlight any action items along with the person responsible and the deadline within your meeting minutes. Add these to a meeting recap email or Teams or Slack message too, so there’s no confusion over who should be doing what. With specific actions recorded and shared, it’s easier to follow up on progress.
8. Finish on time
Sticking to your scheduled meeting times is always important, but especially if your participants are managers or leaders. Finish on time so that they can return to their teams and continue to lead them towards success.
If you find your manager meetings always run over, look for ways to optimize them. Ask for people to vote on ideas or decisions in a Slack poll before the meeting, share status updates via Slack and Teams, and continue to look for opportunities to cut down discussion to where it matters most.
Make every manager meeting count
Manager meetings bring some of your brightest minds together to solve problems and make decisions. They’re a valuable part of any company’s schedule, but we often don’t take full advantage of them. Use this guide to help you plan future meetings that are more effective, productive, and enjoyable for your managers.
Let Polly be your co-pilot in running your most effective manager meetings yet. Explore our meeting management features to help you get organized, seek feedback, and continuously improve.
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Written by Nicola Scoon
Nicola Scoon is a freelance writer that's passionate about employee engagement and better workplace experiences. She draws on her experience in internal communications to help companies create content that empowers, encourages, and motivates people to create better experiences for all.