What can nuns teach managers about running meetings?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 By Jack Nevison

One would think that Catholic nuns, of all people, would be capable of holding a harmonious meeting without descending into bad behavior. However, in a recent article on Quartz, one nun explained that the opposite is often true.

Patricia Bombard, who works at DePaul University as director of "Vincent on Leadership: The Hay Project," said that she became a Catholic sister in order to find people who shared her desire to work for a more peaceful world. While peace mostly reigned in daily life at the convent, meetings often turned into battlefields.

"I witnessed people being rude, dismissive, cutting people off, using sarcasm as a weapon, or exploding in anger," Bombard wrote. "The same was true for meetings of other nonprofit groups I thought I wanted to join as a volunteer."

How could this be? As it turns out, nuns don't take vows that prevent them from clinging stubbornly to preconceived notions and verbally attacking anyone who challenges them. Even for nuns, learning to discuss issues in a respectful manner is an acquired skill.

Bombard explained how a group of sisters eventually decided to create a holistic program for new members. Part of the curriculum focused on communication skills and anger management. The value of the program, she added, was immense.

If nuns need help to run serene and productive meetings, so do project managers. At New Leaf Project Management, you can hone your meeting skills and other important abilities with our online project management courses. Free white papers like "How Not To Run a Meeting" will benefit those seeking PDU credits for PMP recertification.

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