Meetings are another way for no-decision managers to avoid decision-making. While they are in meetings, they are not available to make the decisions their subordinates are requesting. I classify these meetings as ‘meaningless meetings,’ because their main objective is to avoid making decisions, regardless of the declared subject matter. For organisations that have a culture of management through meetings, no-decision managers can thrive and grow in this environment.
There are many different meeting types that no-decision managers can use, but I have found three that are popular.
The first type, and a favourite of no-decision managers, is the information meeting.
‘Today we are holding an information meeting to ensure that everyone has the same level of information. We will not take any decisions. As a start, everyone please take 20 minutes to update the others on what is going on in your department.’
It is true that a small part of this meeting will be legitimate and helpful to subordinates; this part does not come under the heading of meaningless. However when they are repetitive and numerous, endless information meetings are a sign of a thriving no-decision manager. They are an effective tactic for decision avoidance.
Normal managers of course do have meetings to share information within their teams. Unlike no-decision managers the shared information is precise, useful for subordinates and often short and to the point.
Effect on subordinates
Subordinates become exasperated when no-decision managers increase the number and length of their ‘information meetings’. They believe they are a waste of time and some will stop attending.