Huddles are short, sharp, focused, daily stand up team meetings. They can be highly effective, but they need to be well chaired or led. Chairing huddles isn’t difficult, but it takes confidence, practice and some skill. It also helps to have a supportive team.Summary by The World of Work Project
A Well Chaired Huddle
The huddle chair has a hugely important role to play in your huddle. The tone and style that a chair brings to the huddle will shape how it feels to be part of the huddle. This will, in turn, affect how effective the huddle is.
When someone is new to chairing huddles, we recommend that they should get a bit of coaching from within the team. Even a 10 minute coaching conversation or walk-through of the huddle before each actual huddle can make a huge difference to the chair’s capability and confidence. This goes for team leaders and senior colleagues as well.
So what should the chair focus on to help ensure that the huddle goes well and adds value? Well, as well as practice (which goes without saying), we’ve identified six things to consider that can help improve the contribution of the chair to your huddles:
1 – Rotate the Chair
The huddle lead should rotate between all attendees, regardless of their level. Whoever is chairing should be respected and followed by the rest of the attendees. Rotation could be daily, but weekly is better. Rotating the chair brings a new voice, style and energy to huddles which helps keep them fresh. It’s also a great way to build team confidence.
A final reflection on this point is that most people don’t learn to be great participants at huddles until they’re chaired huddles themselves.
2 – Prepare
The huddle chair should be prepared to lead the huddle. They should be clear on what was discussed the prior day, should review the information center fully before chairing and they should be clear of what they need to cover and focus on.
3 – Bring focus and energy
The huddle lead should bring energy and enthusiasm to the huddle. They should also bring a sharp focus on facts, metrics and other key points that drive conversation, communication and decisions.
Each minute of the huddle is important. The chair should try to ensure that each one adds value for the whole team.
4 – Challenge
The huddle chair must have the confidence and permission to challenge and probe the status of team delivery. In fact, they should also be able to do anything else they think would lead to improved performance.
Gaining the confidence and ability to do this well may take practice and coaching. It’s important that every huddle chair can get to the core of performance, risks, issues and actions quickly.
5 – Be Inclusive
The huddle chair has the ability to shape the tone and mood of the huddle. They should use this power to ensue all attendees feel included. They should engage with everyone, ensure everyone has the chance to speak and something to contribute and make everyone feel welcome.
6 – Have Fun
The huddle chair should bring some fun to the huddle to ensure everyone enjoys it. This fun could be a little fun activity, or could just be reflected in the style and tone of the overall huddle.
Huddles are important, and the work that teams do is important, but it’s still possible to do important things in a fun way. Doing so makes the work more rewarding and engaging for everyone involved.
Huddles help to improve motivation, employee experience and employee engagement. Over time they can increase trust, connection and psychological safety in teams. They can also reduce the chance of social threats and help team members spend more time in flow.
Many teams find huddles a key part of successful remote working. If you’re interested in remote working, you might enjoy our podcast on the subject:
The World of Work Project View
We’re big believers in huddles and stand up meetings and think that most teams can benefit from implementing them. But the do need to be well chaired.
We think that if the team is bought in and feel that they are part of the huddle process, then they will be supportive to the huddle chair and that this is very helpful.
We also think that rotating the chair is important as, once people have had to chair themselves, they often become much better attendees! Rotating chairing also provides great development opportunities for individuals.
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The contents of this post have been based on our working experiences and there are no specific references for this content.
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Carrier, J. (2019). How to Chair Huddles Well. Retrieved [insert date] from The World of Work Project: https://worldofwork.io/2019/07/huddles-chairing-them-well/