Rabid Ferrets in the Corner… Give Them an Out

“Would you like me to attend?”

Quality Digest

منبع: https://www.qualitydigest.com/inside/management-article/rabid-ferrets-corner-give-them-out-100323.html

There will be times where stupid stuff will happen to you (and yes, there are times you will do stupid stuff—accept it as axiomatic). When really stupid stuff happens, it can feel like others are conspiring against you. It can seem like a plot of Oliver Stone proportions. During those situations, the outcomes are mostly binary: You defuse the situation or it blows up, sometimes causing irreparable harm to your career or reputation. You may even have an urge to attack the responsible individual. Doing so can create a situation like backing a rabid ferret into a corner. When you create that dynamic, they’re most likely to attack back—and rabid ferrets can be nasty!

About a month later, I learned of a meeting between this manager and a colleague of mine during which they were going to discuss moving the manager and his remaining team over to my colleague’s organization. I wasn’t invited to the meeting. Worse, I learned about it by overhearing a hallway conversation. To understand how bent this got me, read my views on stealing talent from another manager.

As I caught my breath, I realized there was probably no malice intended. They probably just wanted to explore opportunities. Or they bumped into each other in the hall, got to talking, and the idea arose to work together. They might have gotten so excited that they forgot to invite me. Whatever the reason, maybe there was a good one for the meeting other than wanting to deliberately exclude me from the process. So I gave them an out.

“Of course! Why do you ask?”

Published: Tuesday, October 3, 2023 – 12:03

Had I gone in there like the Thing, screaming, “It’s clobberin’ time!” I would have created a very uncomfortable situation for all of us. Heck, I might have even ruined a friendship and an up-to-then solid business relationship. But that didn’t happen because I gave him an out if he happened to be on the wrong side of the line in this case.

Stupid stuff is going to happen. Expect it. It’s part of our complex and highly interdependent world. People will make mistakes. A lot of them. Layer on top of that some incredibly politically charged cultures (for more on that subject see “Hot Heads and Karma”), and there’s an abundance of potentially bad outcomes.

“Oh. Wow. I’m sorry. I must have spaced out. I thought I had you on the original invite when I sent it. I was wondering why you never accepted the meeting request.”

Cornering the wrong person at the wrong time is behavior that can come back to bite you.

“We’re talking about moving some of his work over to my group. I think there are some cool opportunities for him if members of his team work with mine.”

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There are ways to defuse these events simply by adopting the right mindset.

“Oh, OK. I didn’t see the meeting invite.”

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Published Sept. 6, 2023, in thoughtLEADERS Brief on LinkedIn.