The Super Fantastic Leadership Show: The Sidebar Meeting


065: The Sidebar Meeting


If you like to read as much as listen, you can get a transcript of the show right here.

This week on The Super Fantastic Leadership Show, Katie and I are talking about the meeting that happens after the meeting or the sidebar meeting. Yes, the conversations that take place after the original meeting in which everyone could have expressed what they were thinking but chose to, instead, withhold their thoughts and feelings until they leave the meeting. While this isn’t really gossip, it is a form of withholding that can undermine trust. It feels like an invisible sort of thing that happens at work and has been known to happen either in the men’s bathroom or the lady’s lounge.

Typically these sidebar conversations start out with “I didn’t say this in the meeting but…”. Sidebar conversations really aren’t helpful when it comes to building trust in a group and shows up as an energy drain. An interesting question to ponder firstly is, what happened in the meeting that the person didn’t want to express and secondly, what happens to us when we wanted to say something but then we didn’t. We basically can’t stay present in the meeting. An even bigger issue with these sidebar conversations however is what happens to us and the group when we realize that these conversations are occurring. We definitely don’t feel confident about the decisions made in the group and we also don’t feel that we can trust the group of people that we work with any longer.

Nevertheless, the biggest reason that we may find ourselves participating in sidebar meetings is that we or others are afraid. The more that we can open our meetings up to all levels of expression in our culture at work, the more likely that people will be able to express their full opinions which will benefit everyone. Making room for people to respectfully disagree with each other is a great practice in meetings and a wonderful place to begin opening others to authentic conversations.

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