All I do is go to meetings—I can’t get my work done, help!

All I do is go to meetings—I can’t get my work done, help!

I started a new management job and the company norm seems to be spending endless hours in meetings. Nothing seems to get done and I end up having to work late to get my work done. Suggestions? L.S., New York, NY

Many companies have a meeting culture. It’s a critical area to probe when interviewing if you’re meeting averse. Meetings can be extremely frustrating because it looks like nothing is getting done. Recognize, however, that when you are an executive, attending meetings is part of your job and that what is getting “accomplished” during these meetings is often intangible. Expand your definition of “results” to include things like picking up cues about what’s important to management, learning how others think/behave, building relationships, and learning how to influence the influencers. 

Look at the tasks that you’re staying late to do. Are you the appropriate person to do them or have your peers “delegated” them to you? Should you delegate tasks to give a direct report a development opportunity? Is the deadline you’re putting on the task driven by your definition of when it “should” be done in a perfect world—or have you accounted for the fact that much of your time is spent in meetings? Are you appropriately managing others’ expectations of what you will deliver? Take control of your situation and make strategic choices about how you manage your workload.

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