Whether it’s a big meeting or a quick huddle, the last thing you need is someone turning it into a personal gripefest.
All that does is waste everyone’s time and potentially cause problems between people.
Don’t let it go bad
When a productive meeting starts turning into a blame game, try these tactics to get back on course:
1. Break into the chatter ASAP. Start out by agreeing with some positive point that’s been made and credit the person who made it.
2. Lead the conversation in the right direction. The majority in the room want to talk about solutions, not blame each other.
In most cases, the griper (or gripers) will get the hint and get off of their soapbox.
If they don’t, offer to talk more about it with them after the meeting so that business can be discussed.
3. Have a chat with the gripers after the meeting, particularly if they’re staffers who report to you.
Remind them that the right time to blame others for problems on a project isn’t in front of the entire group. They should aim for a one-on-one conversation with you, or a meeting with the appropriate people, beforehand.
Airing grievances in a group setting where, let’s face it, most people just want to get back to work, is unproductive -and rude.