I've led some p.d. sessions for school leaders on "how to run a faculty meeting." A frequent concern among leaders -- whether from Catholic, traditional, pilot, private, or charter schools -- was that a single teacher might set a negative vibe, and teachers who felt differently behaved as a silent majority. (A frequent concern among teachers was that the leader didn't invest enough time in preparation, so the agenda isn't tight, and time is managed poorly, and the meeting drags on way too long....but that's another story).
I came across this Seth Godin blog which captures the basic idea.
The meeting troll is a common creature, one that morphs over time and is good at hiding (snaring you when it's too late to avoid him.)
The meeting troll has a never0ending list of reasonable objections. It's the length of the list that makes the objections unreasonable.
The meeting troll never says 'we'. It's all about 'you.'
The meeting troll doesn't actually want you to fail, but is establishing a trail so that if you do, he's off the hook.
Despite his protestations about how much he hates meetings, the meeting troll actually thrives on them, because, after all, this is the only place he gets to do his best work. The very best way to extinguish the meeting troll is to extinguish meetings. The second best way is to not invite him.
A key giveaway: The meeting troll will use the phrase, "devil's advocate." More than once.
At times I've been guilty at times of being a meeting troll. I can hear myself saying "devil's advocate." But hopefully it's been a while.
Read the whole thing here.