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 third type of meaningless meeting is amazingly the ‘decision meeting’. Ironically, no-decision managers use decision meetings as a decision avoidance tactic.
When the pressure to make a decision is at its highest, they can, for example, announce: ‘Let’s have a meeting next month to decide.’
Until the meeting is held, they have peace because their subordinates will stop pestering them for a decision and prepare their case for the meeting. During the meeting, there is an active discussion on the pros and cons of the alternatives. Team members give their opinions freely and at the end of the meeting turn to their no-decision boss for a decision. He or she does not decide.
Sometimes with a reason: ‘We need more information’, or ‘This particular point was not well documented.’ Sometimes without; they just do not decide giving no reason and the meeting ends.
I have seen no-decision managers set up a date for a second decision meeting, but even at the end of that one, they did not decide.
Normal managers who set up decision meetings use them to make decisions. In many instances a normal manager might have quite legitimate reasons to request additional analysis on any of the points discussed at this type of meeting and set up another one later. However, normal managers will make the decision when the information is sufficient and the analysis is complete. No-decision managers do not.
Effect on subordinates
By this time many subordinates will know their no-decision boss will never decide, but there is always some hope that during a decision meeting something will happen to make a decision. However, it never does with no-decision managers as the boss. Subordinates leave the meeting with one of three emotions: anger, frustration or resignation.