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Effective Meetings - Tip 4

As a leader, don't let loud and aggressive people dominate. The rest of your team will also have good ideas and questions but they may not be aired if they are either fearful of, or bored with, an aggressive character who tries to monopolise. I find that an incremental approach works best with such characters, especially those who are unaware of the effect they are having. There are various steps you can take including: talk to them confidentially between meetings thanking them for their contributions but asking for their help to bring out some of the other team members' ideas by remaining silent sometimes; in the meeting, acknowledge their contribution and ask for others' opinions, being careful not to let the aggressive character interrupt; ask an open question and extend a partially raised hand with a down-turned palm in the direction of the person you want to refrain from constantly dominating; if they press on, interrupt and summarise their point/s then ask others to input; if no improvement, tell them directly that it is now time for them to respect the right of others to make their comments/questions; if they are still out of hand, maintain solid eye contact and tell them that their conduct is unacceptable; as a last resort, ask them to leave the meeting and discuss the issue with them later. in reality, I have never reached the final point - the keys are not to duck the issue and to be firm but reasonable. It may be uncomfortable, but you owe it to the rest of your team to address the issue.

Very frequently, many such people are grateful that someone has been clear with them about the (often unintended) effect they are having on others.

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