True Story (names changed). Rachel was so frustrated with her colleagues in the meeting. It had been boiling inside her for weeks now. Ineffectual meetings, lack of honesty, no decisions, no accountability and putting a positive spin on lots of bad news.
She couldn’t stop herself: “You are just pissing around here with bosses who won’t make decisions and are too bussing covering their arses and protecting bonuses and pensions!” She wasn’t finished yet and went on to a stunned audience “when are you going to think about your own staff and even more the public we are meant to be serving?”
There – she had said it. It felt really good. For a few seconds. Everyone was silent; you could have cut the air with a knife. She slammed her papers from countless futile meetings on the desk, got up and left the meeting.
Naturally there were repercussions. “Managers here don’t speak like that” her HR Manager told her. Then added with a wink “Well said! We didn’t have the courage to ever say that.”.
What learning do you take from that live situation?
For me I take this away:
1. Manage your impulse control (an aspect of Emotional Intelligence which is measurable and can be enhanced). Manage your frustration – it can cost you your job.
2. Relationships between people are everything – often underinvested, so I recommend you spend more time on them.
3. Don’t let things build up – do something about the ineffectual meetings and get a team facilitator in to teach you good meeting discipline and skills.
4. Choose what to say and who to say it with. Have private one to one meetings and use the techniques of “non violent communication” NVC.
PS Rachel survived in that organisation with a written and verbal warning on her file and was inches away from being sacked. However her relationships are seriously damaged. She refused to attend any more of those meetings.
Good luck being authentic without getting sacked!
Warm regards Jonathan