How do you conduct a tough meeting without hurting peoples’ feelings?
The pre-meeting context was important. I had an opportunity to be part of one such meeting. One leader spilled the beans on the social group and the group dynamics was at play. We all expected a tempestuous session. In my corporate career, we have seen a lot of such sessions. But this meeting was very different and I would like to share my learnings from this meeting. The learnings can be leveraged in our corporate setting as well. A tribe of leaders, high caliber people from all walks of life and Industry was there in that room. It had light bulb moments. It oscillated between crucial conversations to logical interpretation. I was engrossed in that meeting, and the one thing that stood was that we treated each other with love, compassion, and respect.
If you have heard about Abilene paradox It was on display before the meeting. We all sometimes inside disagree but we do not convey those disagreements.
- Being self-aware – This is very important in these kinds of meetings where there is a possibility that we lose our cool and we tend to react vs respond
- Likability – We like people who are like us and we like people who like us. So when each one of the people gave their inputs everyone took notice and acknowledged.
- The issue on the table was anchored very deeply through well thought out explanations and it was credible to convey to the people for the change.
- Changing people’s mindset is the toughest and most of the times we feel it is only possible through experiential learning.
- Galaxy of talent in the room all with rapt attention listened, understood and embodied the message in true spirit and they all signed up to the cause.
- The message was clinically executed and it had elements of Radical Candor and Crucial conversation.
A decade back In one of that corporate training sessions, I had the opportunity to see the movie “12 Angry Men“. Our exercise was to analyze the movie and articulate the key learnings. Empathizing was my key learning. Right from the beginning — Henry Fonda’s character tries to walk into the boy’s shoes; what it must have been like to live in a slum and grow up in a violent environment. Instead of rushing to judgment, potentially a prejudiced one; he tries to see things from the boy’s perspective. This is a great example of empathizing with others. The same holds true during meetings and discussions.
What stood out was how one person changed the narrative of the whole team in the meeting
I understood how two people in this meeting held the group together and drove home the point with grit, gumption, and grace. It also had elements of AIM. Below was shared by one member on the FB social page from that meeting.
- A – Accept, acknowledge, address
- I – Inquiry, Inoffensive, Impeccable
- M – Meta-awareness, Mindfulness, Motivation.
A boss is someone who gives pain efficiently, These kinds of meetings gave me a chance to look at the untapped potential in people to voice over their concerns and issues