Meetings are another way for no-decision managers to avoid decision-making. While they are in meetings, they are not available to make decisions that 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.
There are no doubt many different meeting types that no-decision managers can use, but I have found three that seem popular.
The second type of meaningless meeting is the weekly or monthly staff meeting with their direct subordinates. This meeting has two objectives for no-decision managers. The first shows their bosses they are acting as normal managers by holding these regular meetings and in the second they have created a time where no decisions are made.
No-decision managers consider their staff meeting to be a ‘discussion of problem’ meeting not a ‘resolution of problem’ meeting. Subordinates are encouraged to discuss their problems and air their different opinions to the group. However, when they turn to their no-decision boss for arbitration nothing happens. The no-decision boss will call on the next problem for discussion.
Staff meetings led by no-decision managers clearly show the strategy of no-decision management: systematic decision avoidance, while going through the actions of a normal manager.
Normal managers use staff meetings to review progress in their department, resolve issues, fix priorities and assign tasks, with some time set aside for information sharing. They are a place where normal managers can make multiple decisions and set up the team to work in the week or month ahead. No-decision managers, as shown, above do not use these meetings for any of these actions or decisions.
Effect on subordinates
Subordinates expect their boss to use staff meetings to fix priorities and resolve operational problems in the team. They come out of these meetings with their no-decision boss disappointed and exasperated, instead of resolute and motivated.