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I understand the shot across the bow during a feedback session.

I do not understand how to handle when it is not during a feedback session.


If I agreed with a direct that was accusing me of favoritism, I would think saying "yup, you're right" and walk away... would be career suicide.


Is there another podcast that addresses the unruly directs outside of a feedback model?


jhack's picture

What is a feedback session? Feedback is quick, short, no big deal.

Ignoring an unfounded accusation of favoritism isn't career suicide.

Can you define "unruly" behavior?

Please describe an actual situation you face. Ths post sounds theoretical, which is generally an unproductive exercise.


John Hack

buhlerar's picture

Shot across the bow is when you are giving feedback to others and they deny they did something wrong.  In that case, you just drop it: "OK maybe I was wrong."  They know you noticed -- you don't have to win the argument.  But you said this wasn't during a "feedback session" so I'm assuming the direct's comment was not in response to you giving feedback.

Rather, you seem to be describing a situation when someone is criticizing YOU.  As John said, you didn't give enough context to understand the situation that led to this comment. I'm sure you're right -- saying "Yup" and walking away isn't the best response, but you should re-listen to the shot across the bow cast -- it has nothing to do with agreeing to all negative criticism directed at you.  It's about your response to pushback by the direct when you give feedback to them.

That being said, to answer your question, are you doing one-on-ones with your whole team?  Although we don't have many details, it's pretty clear the relationship could be stronger with this "unruly" direct.

Finally, "when things go wrong...start searching for the reason in increasingly larger concentric circles around your own desk."  In other words, are you showing favoritism?

DuanePoorman's picture

Turn the feedback model around on yourself for him.  Ask for specific behavoirs that he's noticed so he's not just stating his interpretation of your actions.  Keep the focus on your specific actions and behaviors, and, perhaps in this case, your non-action.  Then you can respond with specific ways that you can act/behave differently.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Can you please tell me exactly:


1.  What happened to cause you to give feeedback.

2. What you said, precisely.

3.  What they said in response.




KCoklas's picture

The event has already taken place and I had lost my job from it and the activites that followed. (About 5 years ago)

The particulars get intertwined and thus making it difficult to pull out just a part about the shot across the bow.

I was newly promoted to a new department and was in charge of running it with the client. It was around a 200 million USD contract running a order / fact checking department. A team of 25 people with 1 supervisor under me to be the head of 12 people while I had the other 13 and the entire department.

4 months in I took a brief vacation and told my supervisor under me to change the seating arrangments for everyone to help prevent the gossip and talking between some of the people. Keep in mind that this was my first time at being 'boss' and I had zero training going into it.

I approved a rough draft seating arrangment she made up and enjoyed my few days off. I come back to the office of allegations of racism. Out of pure happenstance, the people of same/similiar ethic groups were now NOT being seated by each other. My one trouble maker was claiming it was racist.

The company I was working for had 5 large buildings in 5 states, and I was not at the corporate headquarters. HR got wind of the allegations and a mess started.

All of that... does not really fit into the shot across the bow cast. I think buhlerar explained it perfectly with, this was not the right situation for the particular podcast.

So, a different question emerges then. Is there a podcast to cover the trouble makers? Outside of feedback and a 1-on-1 situation.

I have listened to probably around 100 of the casts and I now laugh and cringe over my brief department manager job. Mike & Mark have briefly described my particular scenario as one that almost never happens... and I got in month 4. Looking back, I can find the errors I made that probably would have saved my job. Going forward, what are some pointers to handle the employee from hell?