[b]BLUF:[/b] What should you do when a direct comes in and says they want to give you feedback about your behavior at a meeting?
:o NOTE: I know understand why Mark & Mike say I should never do this to my boss! :o
He launched into some statements about me seeming agitated, he was just trying to help me, I shouldn't interrupt people, he thought he had valid points... Inside I was suppressing a "who in the xyz do you think you are". My basic response was thank you for being honest. I disagree with your evaluation and point but I'll think about it. I re-explained my point that he disagreed with. There was a long discussion that followed. At the end I said this was a non-negotiable belief for me. But I'd watch my reaction more carefully in any future similar situation.
In my mind, I honestly have to say I was suppressing other less diplomatic thoughts... Should I have given him feedback on this feedback? I have already had two discussions with him on him sending other managers pretty condescending feedback on their directs. He's a former manager who was removed because he just didn't cut it according to HR when I asked.
[b]The Long Story[/b]
Without going into an even longer long story, a few people on the team asked to talk about some other team member in another geography not following agreed upon development guidelines after the end of a meeting. The discussion was about specific actions by individuals up to that point. This direct interrupted another team member with a comment that one person should not be at his job title. He started another sentence about that person not being up to the senior role. I cut him off and said we needed to keep this to behavior not opinions about someone else. I would not allow that sort of discussion. It is my strong belief that team members can talk about behaviors of others but not make comments on whether they feel that person's job title is correct. We then worked through 3 things for the team members to do, a few things that they agreed to consider and two conversations I would have with the remote team members.
His feedback was that when I interrupted him without listening to his whole comment, I offended him. He felt I put him down in front of the team.
My response was that I was sorry that he felt offended. I appreciated his being able to come to me. However, I felt strongly that the remark was highly improper and I would not allow it. He then said that he just used the wrong words and would have corrected himself if I let him continue. My response was that I could not let him continue and he needed to think what he says more carefully in the future.
He then responded that I was obviously agitated and over-reacted. I told him I'd consider that. However, I did not feel I was agitated or over-reacted. I was very alert because I was concerned about the direction the conversation could take. My body language was sitting up straight and focusing on the people talking. But I did not raise my voice, talk quickly, interrupt anyone else but him, argue their points, etc. So, I didn't feel I was overly agitated. But I'd keep that in mind for the future. But I came back to the basic point that I would never allow those types of comments.
At my next one-on-one with another team member, I told him I wanted to clear up any confusion from that meeting. This direct blurted out that the other direct was way out of line with the comment at the meeting. He felt embarrassed by it and he was glad to hear what I said. I said that I was told I was agitated and he responded "no way". He said I reacted really well and we're finally making progress getting the virtual team to address issues that have been here for years.