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Bulldoze the Guy? Why Loosening the Mood Just Might Help

Bulldoze the Guy?Why Loosening the Mood Just Might Help

No doubt, as leaders, we deal with some pretty important stuff on a regular basis. It’s par for the course.

When deadlines are looming or a new product is being released, stress levels can rise. The more important the situation or task – the more at stake, the greater the potential tension.

The implications of challenging moments or situations in the workplace doesn’t always have to result in critical tones and innuendos. Sometimes lightening the moment works wonders. For instance, say we’re at a team meeting to address one particular part of this last quarters numbers. We all know where things went awry and we can pretty much guess who the finger will get pointed to.

However, bulldozing the guy isn’t going to change things.

In other words, the neuroanatomy of leadership doesn’t always have to be linked to hard core stigmas to be effective. We can and should acknowledge the err, but it was an error that is glaringly obvious.  Will reaming the guy change anything? Probably not. It will just create more tension when the tension is already thick enough to cut with a knife.

Not too long ago I was working with a client – observing his team in action. My role at the time was simply to observe, so it gave me the opportunity to absorb a whole lot. Management was meeting for a standard status update meeting and I knew that the topic of one managers mistake was going to be addressed.

This particular manager’s mistake impacted everyone – in one way or another. However, rather than getting reamed or witnessing a lot of whispers and snickering, the room was quiet. The president of the company addressed the mistake, but did so in a very commendable way.

‘Looks like that didn’t work. Let’s move forward and figure out what to do next. Each of you has the data, so we know where we’re at. What can you do to help?’ (suggesting each take a stab at offering input). This was all delivered with a tone void of any accusation. It was delivered in a manner that said ‘we’re in this together’.

He lightened the mood. His demeanor wasn’t aggressive, demeaning, or accusatory. Yes, the marketing team’s actions were a major flop and could have/should have been prevented with a watchful eye. The marketing manager should have done his homework before launching a very ineffective campaign. No doubt.

However, he didn’t need to say all that. Everyone knew. Especially the marketing manager.

The president didn’t undermine the importance of this mistake, but he didn’t find the need to ridicule the marketing manager either.

How this president reacted to this situation sent a message to everyone – not just the gentleman in the hot seat.