Lead a town hall meeting

Here’s an interesting thought for next week for all managers and leaders: Designate one hour next Friday for a town hall meeting. Include your reports, concerned parties and your boss on an email invitation. Allow any subject to be discussed in four ten minute presentations. Make it first reply, first reserve.

When you conduct this meeting with your “circle of concern”, let all four give their ten minute bit and then discuss for five minutes. As you do this more often (do it once a month), you’ll see themes coming up over and over again and then you’ll start to organize agendas for this to turn talk into action.

Push yourself to get four people to step up and say, “I’d like to tell the group something. I’d like to bring up a question. I’d like to speak and lead.” The measure of your leadership is not just your willingness to listen for an hour, it is your ability to recruit people to speak at your town hall type meeting.

I’ve been interviewing CEOs of major companies for my new book and I notice that they all do this on a routine basis. Many big changes come from these meetings and the courageous presenters who take the opportunity to speak up and start a candid conversation. This is not just CEO think, this is leadership think. Even if you manage less than six people, you have a community and an open meeting just may spark some real innovation.

Recommended read: Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman. This is a great book about the value of mood state, positive channels of communication and leading by listening.