The first time it happened, I was devastated.
After all the hard work on building relationships.
All that investment in the team.
All that transparency.
All that work to create a level-less organization.
Why had my direct report team started holding “secret” meetings without me?
Why was that necessary?
What was I doing wrong?
Was this an indication that I had become the proverbial “boss” an image I had tried so hard to avoid?
It’s About Us
I shared my concerns with a member of the team.
Karin, this is not about you. This is about us. We need this. Relax.
I still don’t know exactly what happened in those “secret” meetings. Perhaps they talked about the work. Perhaps they settled some of their own conflict. Perhaps they complained about me. I am not sure it matters.
What I do know is those meetings transformed our organization.
Each leader began stepping up in new ways. They helped one another solve problems. They worked on each other’s projects. They mentored one another’s employees. They brought well-vetted options and solutions to our staff meetings.
My questions became more strategic. So did their answers.
Results kept climbing.
When you strive to be a servant leader, it can be tough to feel your team doesn’t need “serving.” You want to roll up your sleeves and support them. Sometimes the best support you can offer is to step away and give them the space to create, argue, and perform.
Now I welcome and encourage secret meetings.
Could your team use a “secret meeting?”