July 17, 2019 6:00 am Published by

Forget Good Manners #108 

What do you do when someone on your team openly acts poorly during a meeting? Do you talk with them one-on-one to handle it? If so, stop it. 

Many of us have been taught to handle bad behavior privately, and for the most part, it’s bad teaching. 

When working with leadership teams, often they’ll describe situations during their team meetings which vary from body language (eye rolls, sighs, sneers) to undermining comments or straight up insubordination. What do you do?  

My belief is if the behavior happens in public, it’s handled and healed in public.  

The problem is that when you tolerate varying degrees of bad behavior in a crowd and then you take on the tough conversation privately, only those in the private conversation have opportunity to learn and heal or grow. Everyone present for the bad behavior was impacted and regardless of what they’re told happened in the private conversation, they weren’t part of the solution and will remain skeptical at the least and could be on pins and needles longer term. 

If someone has the guts, audacity or lack of professionalism to behave badly in public, we certainly aren’t shaming them to discuss it with those present at the time. Of course, it’s uncomfortable to do this, but it’s not personal. It’s about resolving the issue and getting to the bottom of the behavior so we can eradicate it in the future.  

It takes courage to have these conversations in the moment and most of us haven’t had a lot of practice with healthy conflict. You must abandon good manners and put the greater good of your team and the company first to be successful.  

It’s your choice: you can have good manners and the façade of decorum or you can forget good manners and meet bad behavior with direct inquiry and resolution. Your choice will determine your culture.