Leading a Productive Committee

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Establish Clear Objectives
To create an environment for productive interaction during committee meetings, it is essential to convey a clear indication of the committee’s mission. Committees should only research, study, evaluate and recommend. Don’t get involved in tasks that are the responsibility of administration or the management team. Set goals for the committee and review them regularly. Be sure your objectives are specific and measurable. As this is done, committee members will feel more prepared to act in a productive manner.

Form Problem-Solving Alliances
Be sure all viewpoints are heard and don’t let individuals dominate discussions or decision making. At the same time, offer flexibility. Committee members should be able to offer their perspectives, lead subcommittees and feel like valued members of the team. Try to match committee members to the task by delegating assignments that will capitalize on talents. Remember that the person performing the task may not do it exactly as you would do it. Don’t take over the project. Instead, recognize and respect the talents of committee members.

Set Realistic Deadlines
If you don’t establish clear deadlines, committee members may not feel accountable for completion of their assigned tasks. Give a due date for the assignment and explain how this assignment relates to other priorities. When you delegate an assignment, keep a delegation log. You’ll be able to monitor progress and challenge committee members when necessary.

Encourage the Silent Members
Meet with silent committee members on an individual basis to encourage risk taking and establish goals for participation. Build the person’s confidence by assigning low-risk projects at first; then schedule follow-up visits to discuss progress and to ensure continued support and dialogue.

Set a Good Example
You can’t expect your committee to work efficiently if you waste time yourself. Prioritize your efforts within the committee’s mission and then perform your own tasks promptly and in a professional manner.

Recognize Achievement
Offer encouragement for even small steps forward and permit committee members to recognize and enjoy their own success. Plan opportunities to acknowledge individual success and to celebrate collective achievement.