Employee hates meetings

We have one employee on our team who hates meetings and is pretty obvious about it from his facial expressions and lack of participation. Any advice in how to handle this situation? We have talked to him, but it only helps for a short time. His negativity isn't good for the team.


  • 11 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Newsflash. We ALL hate meetings. That is why they call it W-O-R-K. The company pays us to do it, it is required, so get over it.

    Now, I (of course) wouldn't quite use those words, but that is the jist of it. The employee needs to grow up. If he doesn't want to do the W-O-R-K, then he shouldn't be allowed to keep his J-O-B. Sorry for the sarcasm, but I have no patience for this sort of behavior.

  • I have to agree with Califorian on this one.  If meetings are a part of the job then the employee needs to do this part of his/her job or face the consequences. It sounds like talking to the employee is not working.  The employee is being disrespectful and I guess you could say insubordinate.  Further disciplinary action needs to be taken.  If you want to, have a general discussion with the entire team of the expectations during meetings, but if this employee is the only one you are having trouble with then I think you need to address this just with him/her. 
  • You should communicate to this person that actively and willingly participating in team meetings is a part of their performance metrics, and if they don't improve their participation, they will see it in their performance review. Talk to the whole team about what you expect of them at meetings so everyone is on a level playing field. 

  • Don't you wish sometimes that you could tell these people to just grow up?? Meetings are part of the job. Sure, they can get annoying and everyone has a lot to do, but you just have to deal. I'd have a sit-down with this employee and encourage him to be more of a team player and to get an attitude adjustment (nicely, of course...)
  • We have someone like that here too. What I find irritating about such people is that they act so impatient with meeting proceedings, as if THEIR time is so important and precious, when in reality nearly everyone else attending the meeting has as much work on their plate (if not more) than they do. 

    As others have touched upon, you can't make such people like meetings, but you can make it clear to them that their participation (or lack thereof) in meetings will have an impact on their performance review.

    It's a little thing called teamwork--and at our company being a good team member is an important part of your job.

  • I usually look at this problem as a personality issue.  Either the person feels that they know everything and this is just on imposition on his/her time or on the flip side the person is insecure and/or has minimal social skills in a business group setting.  Either of these personalities is difficult to handle, you can't overlook it and you can't let it stand as it is.  Situations like this make other people uncomfortable also.  I agree with Johnny Bravo that participation (or lack thereof) in meeting will have an impact on their perfromance review.  This person is going to have to learn to grow up and join the team (at least while he's/she's at work).
  • Perhaps this employee "hates meetings" because he/she perceives that these meetings are not productive.   All meetings should have a printed agenda and should "stick" to this agenda.  The person who chairs the meeting should keep the members on task and not allow "rehashing" of the same points.  All agendas generally have a section for comments or other items that will allow for anything that may have inadvertently been left off.  Also, prior to any meeting the members should be contacted to see if they have any items that need to be discussed.  Nothing is worse than to attend a meeting that accomplishes nothing and wastes my time.     
  • I thin that it is necessary to look at the cause and not just the symptoms. Are there too many meetings, are they productive, are they longer than they need to be? Before I'd discipline an employee for not participating at meetings, I would make sure that the meetings are well run.
  • To avoid reaching the wrong conclusion, as to why he 'hates' meetings, I'd start with a one-on-one and ask him directly what the problem is. No use to go through a lot of tiptoeing with "I perceive that you seem to.....". The symptom is obvious. To get to the root of it, hit it head on, by asking, "It's obvious to me and perhaps others that you would rather be somewhere other than our required regular meeting. Help me understand that."

    Based on what you get in return.......move forward. If he's merely obstinate and establishes that 'meetings are wasting his time' or 'I really don't get anything out of them', I'd not bother with attempting to convince him otherwise. There are several directions you could go.....'what would make you feel differently?', 'what is it about our meetings that you dislike in particular?', 'have you made attempts to take at least one thing from each meeting?'

    I'm not feeling as if this guy really needs an on-staff mentor (such as yourself) though. I'm thinking more of a direct approach is called for, such as, "At least I know how you feel. Now, so that you'll know how I feel, I'm obligated to tell you that your presence is required, your attention is expected and your participation is invited. If your outward expressions of disagreement and discontent continue, our disciplinary procedure will result and could eventually lead to employment termination. Do we need to discuss further or can I count on your support and improvement?" 



  • Ruth:

    I believe dealing with this problem directly as a work performance issue, because it is, is the best approach.  Explain to the employee what the performance expectations are and how the expectation is not being met and what the employee needs to do to meet the expectation.  Be clear, be firm, and be prepared to act to provide the positive or negative feedback as necessary.


  • A one-on-one is definitely called for in this situation.  Have you tried letting him facilitate the meeting?  It might help him appreciate what goes into a successful meeting. 
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