Provide Quality Contributions That Help Your Team Win!

Kemka WeliKrus Blog, Life Lessons12 Comments

It was the same in every family meeting I attended. After a matter has been thoroughly debated by the general house, the Chairman would ask the Elders to offer final opinions. Their thoughts would often form the fulcrum on which decisions were made. The eldest spoke last, but his response was always the same ‘my brothers have spoken, where they are, that is where I am!’

As the meeting wound to a close, Mr. Eme in his characteristic way asked if there were any more suggestions on how to tackle the thorny structure issue that has kept the team on its toes. Then calling everyone by name, he’d go round the table to solicit their contributions.

‘I agree with the points made by the previous speakers I have nothing to add’. ‘Nothing Sir’. ‘I am good with the solution proffered by Mr. F’.

It was then I realized that a cross-section of the team never really said anything of value at meetings; zero meaningful contribution and it was the same all the time. Acutely reminiscent of my family meeting – it was a case of ‘my colleagues have spoken, where they are, that is where I am!’

I believe that everyone has something to offer; especially when they believe in themselves and do the required work to tap into their genius. Everyone has a unique perspective they bring to every encounter and it is a huge loss to the team if people are unable to pitch in to solve the problem or improve a situation. When people don’t contribute in meetings, they make the work difficult for the person who’s accountable for providing solutions. That is why it is very important to move the ‘Silenters’ to ‘Speakers’ and ‘Doers’.

Why do people keep silent in meetings? Why do you keep silent yourself?

  • They doubt their competence.
  • They do not have the required competence.
  • They feel inferior.
  • Many people are spoilt. They believe that the superstars, Mr. A, B or C will cover things up.
  • They fear to take on the superstars if they have contrary views.
  • They are not allowed to speak – I have been in a meeting where someone was shut down for attempting to talk. Instead of hearing him out the Chairman asked him ‘what is your grade?’ In another instance, a Director first sized up everyone asking ‘state your name and your grade’ and when there was no one near her grade, she walked away and told the visiting staff, ‘I only meet with Executives, when (my contemporary), your Director’ is ready, you may come back’. All the beautiful ideas just died there, unnaturally.

How can people be helped to become resource people? How can they overcome this parity and reach for the heights that are possible for them? I have looked at my journey and I think the greatest work starts with the individual believing in him/herself and building competence and excellence.

Increase your competence. This is related to one of the greatest questions that everyone should ask and answer him/herself ‘how do I learn? You must draw up a system for continuous learning. Read, watch, listen individually or combined but learn!

Find ways to improve your competence

We have the greatest learning tool ever – the internet! No matter the topic or subject you can get information that keeps you up-to-date and relevant. That lovely phone in your hands was not meant to be used to only ‘oppress’; please find the Google App and become more useful to your team.

A colleague would always reserve at least 30 minutes before any meeting to ‘google’ the subject matter of any meeting and she was always on top of the game in every meeting. Although an HR professional, she contributed to discussions about Banking, Agriculture, Customer Service, and many more subjects than many people who were professionals in those fields.

When you have studied, believe in yourself and share what you have learned.

In most cases, there are many materials that are circulated before the meetings. Unfortunately, most people do not make the least effort to study them. Please if there are materials that have been circulated for the meeting you are to attend, please read them. If you don’t understand them, find out who does and get help. Otherwise, go to Youtube, Slideshare, Linked In and many other resources out there and you will likely find ‘dummy’ explanations.

The Dream: Everyone, a super contributor!

Hopefully, you will meet amiable Chairpersons, like Mr. Eme who will recognize you, appreciate your input and allow you to shine.

May your efforts to become an active participant in your meetings be rewarding. May you never be known as a ‘my colleagues have spoken’ staff. May you become a speaker and most importantly a doer as you help your team to win, time and again!


12 Comments on “Provide Quality Contributions That Help Your Team Win!”

  1. True, every voice is important at meetings. Meetings competence in necessary not only for the silent ones but also the meeting Chairmen, need to build some leadership skills and emotional intelligence to unmute the silent members.
    This is yet another good piece that relates with realities we ate living

  2. This makes alot of sense, though I laughed at some point, it’s the reality. Thank you for sharing these important tips.

  3. “All the beautiful ideas just died there, unnaturally…”
    I went through that years ago and promised myself not to be that person…but I still know many who are…

    Great and very realistic piece. Thanks

  4. And then there is another angle where members bully other members into not speaking. Does this resonate?: “Let me interrupt your competence with my confidence”. Usually done by men unto women.
    I like that the dynamics are changing though. Let the rules of meetings be adhered to and each speaker be respected regardless of what they have to say. Everyone has some value to bring – if not for the current meeting, for another.

  5. This is insightful, real exposition…at any opportunity we should expose people (team players) to value(s), more or better values will be added along.

    Nice piece!

  6. Nice write up Kemka. A huge responsibility lies with a Chair of a meeting not to accept status quo but to ensure that everyone offers an opinion about a subject matter. By doing this people must come prepared for meetings. Kudos to Mr Eme though!

  7. This is a great article. It is not only timely but also relevant. A great way to start the work week. Thank you so much.

  8. Great article!

    Even more important than speaking up during meetings is the need for people to ask questions and discover black swans, assumptions and unintended consequences.

    Thanks for your insight. Keep writing.

  9. “When you have studied, believe in yourself and share what you have learned.”

    Only when you have studied can you contribute. Study to show yourself approved.

    Nice thought.

  10. Very insightful and beautifully presented too.

    And chairpersons have a role to encourage all to contribute to the discussion.
    Make a point to not allow attendees to make cheap comments of others. Some tend to ‘lift’ the quality of their own ideas by belittling those of others. That sucks.

  11. Attending meetings (Kingdom halls)has thought me alot and exposed me to future team activities and quality engagements thereafter.
    You just reminded me what we do every week…..

    Thanks Krus.

  12. Pingback: Your Contributions are Valuable – The Size Does Not Matter! | WELIKRUS

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