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4 Common Pitfalls of Workplace Meetings: Understanding Employee Discontent

4 Common Pitfalls of Workplace Meetings: Understanding Employee Discontent

Many executives and leaders frequently hold meetings, and the higher their positions, the more meetings they tend to have. However, how many people truly understand how to conduct effective meetings? And how many people are willing to have meetings frequently? The reasons behind this can be summarized as follows:

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01-Criticism-focused meetings

These meetings involve publicly criticizing subordinates, not providing them with a way out, and focusing more on criticism than encouragement. When meetings are dominated by pointing out what is wrong and lacking praise or recognition, it can demotivate employees. Especially for senior managers, recognition from superiors is highly valued.

Suggestion: Instead of criticism, it is recommended to coach employees. Have one-on-one conversations behind closed doors, understand the reasons behind recent mistakes, inquire about difficulties, and ask how you can help them. Show genuine concern and care. Use coaching instead of criticism. Criticism implies disapproval and when someone feels criticized, they tend to push back. Even if you are their superior and they dare not confront you, they may not fully accept the criticism. Coaching, on the other hand, is about helping them grow, treating them like family, and not criticizing them in front of others. It is important to identify the root causes before providing targeted solutions; otherwise, the resistance will only grow stronger. This is a basic human instinct, and as a manager, it is crucial to respect it.

02-Debate conference

Instead of coming to the meeting with prepared solutions, participants engage in discussions during the meeting, resulting in a waste of time and no concrete outcomes. After multiple instances of unproductive meetings, people feel that the meetings are meaningless, just a verbal battle that ends without any substantial results.

Suggestions: Firstly, meetings should be notified in advance with clear agendas, and all participants must come prepared with their own solutions. Secondly, discussions should focus on individual issues rather than pointing out others’ problems. Additionally, each person should be given a limited time to speak and should not exceed the time limit. Finally, the meeting should be summarized, and actions should be implemented based on the outcomes.

03-Overtime meetings

Frequent meetings that encroach on after-work hours deprive people of their normal rest time. It is unlikely that anyone would willingly dedicate all their time and energy to the company without having some personal time.

Suggestions: If an issue can be resolved on the spot, there is no need to call a meeting for it. It is preferable to have standing meetings rather than sitting meetings, and meeting durations should be limited. If a meeting exceeds the designated time, the facilitator should face consequences as well.

04-Boss monopolizing the conversation

When only the leader has the final say and participants are not given the opportunity to express their opinions, there is a lack of participation and enthusiasm among the attendees. Who would be willing to attend such meetings?

Suggestions: In each meeting, subordinates should be given the chance to speak first, and the leader should speak last. Many companies have hierarchical structures where the boss is at the top, followed by executives, middle managers, and employees. Such organizational structures often lead to decision-makers being detached from the market and making decisions in isolation. If you still can not solve this kind of problem, you can use a meeting tool, like It has a section call feeback. Everyone has a chance to share their opinions, to see if they support or not.


The mentioned meeting issues indicate significant problems with the company’s process management system and organizational structure. The key to resolving these issues lies in clear communication, active participation, and a more inclusive decision-making process.

Author: Ashley Mitchell

Team meeting expert with over 10 years of experience in facilitating productive and engaging meetings. Ashley’s passion for effective communication and teamwork has led her to become a sought-after consultant and speaker in the field of team meeting management.

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