THE QUESTION: As a part of a major restructuring of the company’s strategic plans, several new people have been hired in your department. Ryan has been brought in as the new director, and since people don’t know each other well and are not familiar with each other’s tasks, he has scheduled a team-building meeting. No materials are shared prior to the meeting, and during the work sessions the discussion is very superficial. Key players are constantly ignored, and when someone raises crucial issues, Ryan reacts with comments such as, “Enough with problems; let’s hear about solutions.” People try to please Ryan in public, but in private they share their disappointment. After the meeting, Ryan approaches you saying, “Hey Jane, don’t you think this was quite a successful meeting?”
WHAT’S YOUR ANSWER?
A. You calmly smile and let it go. Ryan clearly lives in his own world, and there is no reason for you to jeopardize your job.
B. You tell Ryan that you agree, but there is still much to be done. You suggest he ask some of the other attendees for honest feedback.
C. You candidly, but politely tell Ryan that the meeting was conducted in a way that prevented people from being straightforward or addressing the real issues.
D. You answer, “Yes Ryan, but we didn’t have enough time, and there is something missing. Give me a day to survey the others and put together a comprehensive report for you.”
WHAT’S MY ANSWER?
I picked B: You tell Ryan that you agree, but there is still much to be done. You suggest he ask some of the other attendees for honest feedback.
However, I feel it should be a combination of answer B and C. Chances are, there were some positive aspects of the meeting. Agree with Ryan and give specific examples of what he did well (answer B). But, he did ask for my (Jane’s) opinion. I think there is a way to politely tell Ryan the areas of the meeting I felt could’ve been better. Again, giving specific examples that represent why I feel the way I do could help Ryan see the meeting from a different perspective (answer C). Then, suggesting he ask the other attendees could give him a well-rounded perspective of how his team thinks and feels (answer B). This will help communication in the future as the team learns to work together.
Well, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know your answer and why in the comments below.