Don’t Forget the Importance of a Team Brief

In the 90s and 00s, holding team briefs was an essential part of a manager’s role and a regular feature of office life. Since the rise in popularity of cloud computing and remote working, briefings are much more likely to be done digitally – and opportunities are being missed by managers who have forgotten the benefits that a proper meeting can give the whole team.

A team brief is an opportunity to discuss issues and change from the very top of the business down to smaller issues within the team. The open nature of the meeting worries some managers, who feel that imparting information via email can save them time.

Regular face-to-face briefings with your teams are still important opportunities to check in, give and gather information and – most importantly – to gauge understanding.

Management training will teach you both time management and effective communication skills. In particular, taking a course in management skills for new managers will mean guidance in which methods of communication are more appropriate for the situation, to ensure the understanding and support of your team.

Top Five Tips for Team Briefs

If you’re worried that a return to team briefs will take up too much of your time, follow our top five tips below.

Set a time – and stick to it

It’s very important that the meetings start and end on time. The ‘stand-up’ approach used in project management is an effective way to ensure meetings stay brief and on track. If you have remote workers as part of the team, try and arrange the briefing for a time they are in the office. Otherwise, ensure any necessary equipment is set up before the start of the meeting to make sure they don’t miss out.

Use our Strategies for Better Time Management post to manage your time more effectively.

Be prepared

Make sure you know what changes or actions you’ll expect as a result of the information you giving. Let the team know the agenda before the meeting and invite them to come prepared with issues they want to discuss. If it’s a sensitive issue, or likely to cause dissent, think in advance of the kind of responses you might get from the team and how to handle them. People will respect you more if you impart bad news in person.

Don’t forget context

Being a manager requires the ability to communicate business decisions in a way that is relatable enough to ensure your team’s support and motivation, without giving away sensitive information. Your staff will need to know the ‘why’.

Observe and listen

It’s up to you to ensure your team understand the information given. Check their body language and really listen if anyone raises any concerns or asks for clarification. If you miss the opportunity to make it a two-way event then you could have just stuck to imparting the information via email.

Active listening is important for understanding what people are saying and not wasting time.

In-person briefings are especially important when the changes needed are particular sensitive or drastic – it might be tempting to send an email because you can get all the information down before pressing ‘send’, but it’s incredibly difficult to ensure your words aren’t being misread or misunderstood.

Don’t forget the importance of team building

Sometimes a team briefing can be used just to acknowledge success and give praise. Motivating staff  is an essential part of the manager’s role and this is impossible without regular face to face interaction.

Image by Victor1558 on Flickr.

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