You Lost Your Temper With a Teammate — Now What?
You are serving on a cross-functional team at your company. The assignment is to advise the company about corporate sponsorship of a minor league sports franchise in your area.
Randall is part of the group, crunching numbers. You feel he has a strong personal bias toward the area’s basketball team over its soccer team. You are concerned he will not be objective in providing information. Skewed data could result in a flawed recommendation from your group.
You have mentioned this to Randall, but he insists he’ll keep his personal opinion out of his information. Unfortunately, after a recent team meeting, you got into a heated argument. You ended up saying, “I think it’s ridiculous how biased you are about the basketball sponsorship, just because you like the team! You’re going to distort the information we need for our recommendation.”
Randall replied, “You’ve been beating this drum since we began the project. I resent being accused of dishonesty. Your brain is obviously stuck on hold!”
How to Proceed?
After you cool down, you realize you let your emotions take over. As a Q4 collaborative leader, you know that, for the sake of the team, you need to talk to Randall before the next meeting. But how can you get past your botched feedback to have a better discussion?
Bringing in the boss to decide the matter is an option, but it’s a bad one. People in management positions are expected to solve problems like these before asking the boss to spend time refereeing their squabbles.
You definitely want to make amends for your behavior so that you can work together more smoothly. However, the point of this meeting shouldn’t be to gloss over your concern in a Q3 “let’s all be friends” moment. The idea is for you to discuss your point of view, in hopes that you will be satisfied that Randall will provide objective stats and data, despite his rooting interest in basketball. See Answer C.
This is the best response. Plan this meeting thoroughly in order to keep your emotions out of it. However, allow Randall to vent his leftover anger from your accusation that he can’t be objective. He should be allowed to express his frustration without an argument from you. Once the air is cleared, you should both be much more amenable to a rational discussion. Now, objectively probe his process for providing data. Be Q4 open and approachable. Listen to what he has to say. If your objections can be overcome, then you can both feel satisfied that this issue is put to rest as you go into your team meetings to accomplish the group’s goal.