Gransnet forums


other women!

(41 Posts)
Soutra Sun 13-Apr-14 00:48:26

I belong to a couple of groups where the members are roughly my own age or a bir older and they are for the most part lovely. But I am in danger of falling out big time and have to moderate my reactions to the horlicks they make of organisation. It takes a 2 hr meeting to organise a meeting and then there is a flurry of emails to confirm who is doing what and " have we remembered x; y and z"? In the parlance of todays yoof it is "doing my head in" - how do I cope without losing my friends? (if it is.not already too late)

Anne58 Sun 13-Apr-14 01:21:20

Oh heck, I think this may be a sign of council syndrome, having a meeting to plan a meeting, then having one to discuss the findings (if any!) of the previous meeting etc etc ad nauseum!

Another sign to look out for is starting a meeting by someone reading aloud the minutes of the previous meeting, even though all those present have had a copy of them in advance.

My ex boss was guilty of this, it meant that the first 20 minutes or so of each meeting was given over to him reading IN FULL the minutes that we had all bloody had and sodding read before the damn meeting that was taking place!

I had a horrible nightmare that it would end up in a sort of "groundhog day" situation where we just forever read the minutes of the previous meeting, which started with the minutes of the meeting before, which started with the minutes of the one before that, which started with...............................................

janeainsworth Sun 13-Apr-14 08:20:36

soutra there is only one solution.
At the earliest opportunity, propose that your group elects a Chair, with responsibility for identifying tasks and then delegating them.
Then elect yourself as Chair.

JessM Sun 13-Apr-14 08:30:55

Group dynamics Soutra - every group needs people willing and able to step into various roles. The one where you make sure everyone is included and looked after. The one that has bright ideas and makes suggestions. The one where you make sure all the t's are crossed etc etc. They also need people to fulfil leadership roles particularly if there is a task, however small, that needs doing. Sometimes this is all embodied in one official leader who does it all. Sometimes everyone chips in and helps the group get the task done. The groups you describe are very informal and have no official leader, so task completion (e.g. agreeing a date) relies on group members doing their bit. This does not mean being bossy. It is quite subtle, saying things like "So we have a number of ideas, how about we go round in turn and just briefly say which we prefer" or "Can i just summarise, everyone but Chris is able to make the 3rd, but no one else is." Or "can i make a suggestion - there's a problem with every week next month, so shall we have a show of hands and just decide on numbers"
In fairness all woman groups can be good and men can be as bad or worse. I had a boss once who used to book a team management meeting to last a morning in his not very full diary and us other 3 used to almost die of impatience as he waffled around the subject and resisted making decisions.

Aka Sun 13-Apr-14 08:36:43

Who's actually in charge of this fiasco?

Iam64 Sun 13-Apr-14 09:08:59

Not all groups have anyone who is formally "in charge" of things. Jess M is right though, group dynamics will be ever present. Soutra, either find yourself morphing into an unofficial group leader, or accept it's as it is - and breathe grin

Ariadne Sun 13-Apr-14 09:14:38

I think I posted this a couple of years ago, but anyway - I heard Charles Handy once, as I commuted, on Thought for the Day; paraphrased, he said he had been at the LSE chairing a meeting of learned professors, and it had gone on, and on, and on:

"I was reminded of the Roman centurion who said to Jesus 'Lord, I say to one man come, and he cometh, and to another man go, and he goeth.' and you know, I wished I was that centurion!"

JessM Sun 13-Apr-14 09:29:45

Yes difference between chairing where you have to get a consensus and being the boss.
Academics don't have a boss in the normal sense so nobody "tells them what to do" . Which is bossing not leading.

Grannyknot Sun 13-Apr-14 09:54:37

The group dynamics in my in-laws are fascinating to observe - there are 6 siblings, the extremely matriarchal MIL has advanced Alzheimers and is cared for by one of her daughters. The problem is, with her (the leader) effectively gone, they can never achieve consensus in deciding about anything including their mother's care, finances etc. This is the interesting bit for me: my husband, who has strong leadership skills is the only male offspring, and he is the middle child. He hasn't got a hope in Hades of taking the lead in this group (well so far anyway). Let's not forget that all the partners and husbands chip. I'm the only SIL and I have learnt to stay right out of it grin

Grannyknot Sun 13-Apr-14 09:55:20

That should be "all the others chip in "

Mishap Sun 13-Apr-14 09:58:28

Well - it's just people. Not the UN. I would go with the flow and chuckle about it to myself. I live in a tiny village which is lucky enough to have some very active people, so lots of things going on - and they are all organised in this happy, but bumbling fashion. I enjoy the charm of it all.

thatbags Sun 13-Apr-14 10:04:34

If the groups drive you up the wall, soutra, why not leave and join something else? Or just back out of the 'organisation' stuff and enjoy their company. Say nowt and people watch. It might be amusing. It sounds as if they just like meeting each other. I presume there is a plentiful supply of tea and cake? Just enjoy the teabreak wink

thatbags Sun 13-Apr-14 10:05:23

Same as mishap said smile

Grannyknot Sun 13-Apr-14 14:29:35

Re the people watch, that's exactly what I do with my in-laws. I sit back and watch the show.

glammanana Sun 13-Apr-14 16:01:03

Soutra Buy them a badge with "MD" on and they can all take a turn about.grin

Penstemmon Sun 13-Apr-14 16:24:51

You need a proper chairperson who can summarise the discussion and turn the summary into a decision and a secretary, in league with the chair, who minutes the 'decisions'!

FlicketyB Sun 13-Apr-14 19:48:06

I am absolutely with Penstemmon. Any group like this needs a chairwoman/man who will guide and manage the group and someone who minutes decisions.

I have belonged to the committee of one organisation for over 20 years. I have been variously chairman, secretary and treasurer and I am currently none of these. We have had a succession of chairmen & women who have been excellent at controlling meetings, guiding discussion with the leadership skills to stop anything becoming acrimonious. The committee has gone through many changes of membership but has remained united, friendly and effective.

On the other hand DH once belonged to a committee with a totally ineffective chairman (it was a man). Every committee meeting required three evenings. they never got beyond matters arising on the first meeting. Nothing was ever agreed, or if it was the next meeting rethought it. At the end of the first year he resigned.

rosesarered Sun 13-Apr-14 20:07:02

Yes, it needs someone with a bit of get up and go who can lead and be firm with all the ditherers!Any meetings can be tedious and drag on all evening otherwise.Village Hall Committees spring to mind, also W.I. It's not dealing with practical matters that make you unravel mentally, but all the waffle, until you could scream 'don't any of you have a life?!!!'

Penstemmon Sun 13-Apr-14 20:36:20

I make sure the WI committee meetings are not more than 1 1/2 hours MAX! We've got through the wine by then!

rosequartz Sun 13-Apr-14 20:44:38

The group I belong to are fine and great at organising events. However, having been on committees etc for years, I avoid going on the committee nowadays, although they know I am available to help out if needed.

POGS Sun 13-Apr-14 21:40:42

Well it happens doesn't it. Everybody is an expert.


Deedaa Sun 13-Apr-14 22:18:07

The trouble with most of the committees I've been on is that ideas are discussed, plans are made, everybody's ready to move on - and then someone asks some damn fool question that takes us right back to the beginning again!

MiniMouse Sun 13-Apr-14 22:34:16

A camel is a horse designed by a committee!

thatbags Mon 14-Apr-14 06:23:18

Gransnet threads work like those committees sometimes.

Mamie Mon 14-Apr-14 06:42:30

I can offer advice from our Village Events Committee. We meet at 8pm after everyone has done the milking and eaten the soup. We gather at someone's house (in rotation). There are four events every year so there are four planning meetings.
Every village event is exactly the same every year. We spend a maximum of 5 minutes deciding if we need an extra roll of tablecloth or 23 tins of haricot beans instead of 24.
We spend the next three hours eating and drinking.
As you all know, the French have got their work / life balance perfectly organised.