Hard Truths About the Meeting After the Meeting | MIT Sloan Management Review

Leadership & Culture

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This article delves into the phenomenon of “the meeting after the meeting,” “when several participants informally (and often spontaneously) carry on a candid, sensemaking conversation about the meeting they just attended.” Given that these post-meeting discussions can often push team dynamics and culture in a toxic direction, the author provides five strategies leaders can employ before, during, and after the formal meeting. One of the strategies is elevating the value of pushback in the formal meeting, where leaders should encourage debate and dissent during the formal meeting to address concerns in real time and prevent them from escalating into post-meeting discussions. This article could be a good resource to share with team members. If you are a team leader, at your next team meeting, here are three questions I suggest you ask: 1) How often do you believe our team engages in the “meeting after the meeting?” 2) Why do you believe this occurs? 3) What could I do better as a leader, and then us as a team, to ensure that we are addressing all concerns and questions directly in the formal meeting? I share this article as many leaders and teams continue to express concern about employee wellbeing, heavy workloads, and employee burnout—all of which can partially be alleviated by addressing “the meeting after the meeting.” Is this a topic for your next team meeting?