“If you are not going to pretend to be in control of the emotional exchanges in the meeting, what do you need to allow yourself to do in the meeting?” I asked.
“I need to allow myself the ability to listen to each side before I judge the conversation off limits,” Ron replied.
“Can you give yourself a hall pass to do that?”
“A hall pass?” Ron chuckled.
“Yeah, a hall pass. Write that down. Give yourself a hall pass to listen to each side before you judge the conversation off limits,” I smiled.
“I feel like I am writing a permission slip from my parents.”
“Call it what you like,” I nodded. “Now, what do you need from the team to make that happen?”
“When Fred and Jim got into it, in the meeting, they were trash talking each other,” Ron’s turn to nod.
“So, what do you need from the team to give yourself permission to listen without judgement? And, remember, it’s the emotions that made you uncomfortable, not the fact that Fred and Jim were calling each other out on performance. What do you need from the team, including Fred and Jim?”
“If I were brave enough to ask, as the leader,” Ron started, “I would ask each of them, in the face of a shortfall in expectation, what is the impact on them, personally, and how does it make them feel. And, that they should only speak for themselves. No speaking for someone else. Fred cannot speak for Jim and Jim cannot speak for Fred.”
“And, don’t forget about Sue and Tony and Ricardo, they need to speak for themselves as well.”