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Lessons in Leadership

What is Your Style as a Meeting Leader?

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This quiz provides a general idea of how you prefer to lead meetings.
Two different styles are described at the end of the quiz.

INSTRUCTIONS

For each item, distribute 3 points between choices (A) and (B). Use whole numbers, not 1.5. Example: If you feel that (A) is almost always true of you, then give 3 points to (A) and none to (B). If (A) is often true, but (B) is also sometimes true, then give 2 points to (A) and 1 point to (B).

Points for A "A" Items Points for B "B" Items
  1. I start meetings on time.   1. I start meetings once everyone has arrived.
  2. At the beginning of a meeting, I quickly get to the most important agenda items.   2. At the beginning of a meeting, I give people time to get acquainted or chat about recent events.
  3. I plan the agenda before the meeting and stick to it.   3. I let the agenda develop during the meeting based on people‚Äôs needs and concerns.
  4. I keep the amount of discussion under control during the meeting.   4. I allow people the time they need to freely share thoughts and ideas.
  5. I clearly define each issue to be discussed.   5. I ask group members to elaborate on issues as they arise.
  6. When people get off the subject, I quickly bring the discussion back to the agenda.   6. I let the discussion go where people feel they need to take it.
  7. I assume that people who are quiet do not wish to participate.   7. I encourage people who are quiet to join the discussion.
  8. I try to keep conflicts to a minimum during meetings.   8. I prefer free expression of disagreements and differences.
  9. I like for meetings to be focused and businesslike.   9. I like for people to joke and share humorous stories.
  10. I encourage the group to reach a decision even if some members disagree.   10. I prefer to postpone action until group members have reached a consensus.
  Total Points for A:   Total Points for B:

YOUR SCORE

Your total scores can range from 0 to 30. The "A" items are more typical of meeting leaders who focus on tasks, while the "B" items are more typical of meeting leaders who focus on members.

If you have a high score (20-30) in one category, then you may be likely to use that style most of the time. A moderate score (10-20) in both categories may mean that you tend to be task-oriented in some situations and member-oriented in others.

Meeting Leading Styles

Strengths and weaknesses of each meeting leading style are summarized below. In general, Task-focused Leaders concentrate on the work to be done, while Member-focused Leaders pay attention to people in the group. The most effective meeting leaders balance the focus on tasks and members, shifting their style as needed.

Task-focused Leaders

Member-focused Leaders

Strengths

  • Clearly define the goals of the meeting.

  • Provide a specific agenda for discussion.

  • Make efficient use of time.

  • Keep the group focused on the topic.

  • Prevent conflicts from getting out of hand.

  • Reach decisions without undue delay.

  • Create a sense of rapport in the group.

  • Allow members to get to know each other.

  • Insure that current concerns are addressed.

  • Encourage expression of new ideas.

  • Try to get input from everyone.

  • Promote consensus in the group.

Weaknesses

  • May not create a “team feeling”.

  • May not learn about members’ concerns.

  • May cut off discussion before all relevant information has been shared.

  • May not hear all useful ideas and opinions.

  • May find after the meeting that some members do not support a decision.

  • May tolerate members arriving late.

  • May waste time on irrelevant topics or extemsive socializing.

  • May frustrate members with long, unfocused meetings.

  • May allow conflicts to get out of hand.

  • May delay decision-making unnecessarily.

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