In the second practice problem, the problem is a During a meeting, a senior member of the team lashes out and throws a fit directed towards another senior member of the team. You called for the meeting. How do you handle this?
Meanwhile, we are trying something new with this Practice Problems segment. Want to read the details click here.
Practice Problem: During a meeting, a senior member of the team lashes out and throws a fit directed towards another senior member of the team. You called for the meeting. How do you handle this?
Bonus: Explore having a public or private conversation with the senior team member’s behavior.
Timed: In 15 mins or less
A word of caution
Our practice problems are designed to get you to think about how to attack a problem and to develop a mindset. However, when negotiating or as you build products within your cross-functional teams there are variables that we have zero ideas about and the circumstances are different.
Therefore, as you review to use this resource as a guide or framework. Remember for example, one size doe NOT fit all.
What would YOU do? 👇
Let us know in the comments below:
- How you would handle this situation, and/ or
- What you would do differently.
Solution – Senior team member lashes out
Unlike the previous practice problem Team member misses deadlines. This practice problem gives you no time to plan. This practice problem tests your ability to think on your feet.
Let's go over the facts one more time:
- You called for the meeting
- During a meeting, a senior member of the team lashes out and throws a fit directed towards another senior member of the team
Since we released this practice problem online. A couple of people suggested to get out of the meeting and not accept the team member's behavior. While we agree with this suggestion, in general. However, since you are the person who called the meeting. Our recommendation changes to take control of the situation.
Below is a five-step process to consider as you prepare to talk to your team member who misses deadlines.
Step 1: What is the purpose of the meeting?
Keep in mind what the meeting was called for. Is the reason for lashing out related to the purpose of the meeting?
- No. Then tactfully suggest that we stay on track and park that item for another time
- Yes. Keep reading
Step 2: What is the reason for lashing out
This is where you need to be an active listener. Were there any signs in the meeting or outside of the meeting this person may lash out?
During the meeting look for signs of frustration, or upsetting body movements. If things are getting tense it's ok to call for a break or wrap the meeting up early.
Step 3: Keep calm
Once the team member has started to lash out and throw a fit, it is wise to not add fuel to the fire. By this we mean, we don't think it is wise to overpower the team member lashing out.
Depending on the severity of the team members actions:
- Are you able to get a word in and try to calm the team member down?
- Or does the team member just need to rant and get it out of his system?
If the latter, we suggest just staying quiet and letting the team member rant on. If this happens there likely will be other team members who walk out of the room.
Step 4: Call for a break or end the meeting
Once the team member has finished lashing out and throwing a fit. Acknowledge you heard his concerns/ perspective and call for a break.
Step 5: 1 on 1 with the team member
During the break (or after ending the meeting) offer a glass of water or offer to take a walk outside of the building to clear the air. During this time let the team member know you appreciate his concerns/ perspective. However, the way in which he burst out is unacceptable. Discuss a path forward.
This actually happened to us in a previous life. We were in a sales prep "War room" - 4 days together with the team prepping for a sales presentation.
During this session, we were presenting our initial pitch deck (and strategy) to a senior member of the team. At the end of the pitch deck, she suggested some changes to the deck and overall strategy with this customer we were trying to win business from.
She outlined her suggested changes and reasons for the change.
While she was talking about the changes I started to notice one team member's facial expressions change and it appeared he was in disagreement with the suggested changes.
He started to question the changes, which led to lashing out and throwing a fit unprofessionally. During his rant, we identified that he was against the change because it meant he would have additional work to do and he was already overloaded.
The senior team member who suggested changes walked out along with other members of the team. We stayed since we called the meeting.
Luckily this happened around 11:30 am and as per the published schedule lunch was 12 noon to 1 pm.
After the lashing out and throwing a fit finished, I acknowledged the team members' concerns/perspective and called for early lunch (as there were still a few people in the room) and we would start again at 1 pm.
We had a 1 on 1 with the team member lashing out and he voiced concerns why these suggestions are being brought in now.
He also told me that he doesn't have time to make the suggestions as he has other commitments. Soon as I heard that I knew it was a perfect segway. I told him, I understand your concerns and frustrations, however, the suggestions came from a senior sales leader and this opportunity is theirs and we are here to support.
If he has other commitments, let me find someone else to support him. Or if he prefers to be relieved of his duties with this team I am ok. He indicated he would like to step away for a little, however, still be involved with this opportunity.
We all got back in the room at 1 pm (after lunch) and the team member who lashed out did his job till the end of the day. In the background, we identified another resource who can be brought in.
What would you do?
What would you do different let us know in the comments below?
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