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Our days are busy, filled with meetings, status updates, future planning, risk assessing, decision making and the rest! The people in our teams are busy too! Above all we’re human, we have lives that impact our mood and outlook. To the point, we have bad days which means we can act in undesirable ways sometimes, but that doesn’t always mean there is a lack of respect. Sometimes a manager needs to let it go!

A few examples where people behave unexpectedly could be:

  • Snapping a response back to a question
  • Turn up late for a meeting without saying anything
  • Raising a voice at you or someone in the team
  • Someone storms out of a team meeting or 1:1

No question, some actions can be disrespectful but there are different ways to deal with them. The relationship you have with the person is important as you draw from that experience. As a manager, there is a natural inclination to do something but there are questions that should be answered first:

  • Was this out of character?
  • Did you witness the event? If not, can you tell if some has exaggerated the even in any way.
  • Is this the first time you’ve witnessed this behaviour?
  • How serious was the situation?
  • Who was affected by this event?

There are concerns with any event where you feel you need to react. What will people think if I do nothing? Not every event needs a reaction, sometimes a reaction of the manager can make the situation worse. Don’t get me wrong, anything disrespectful or threatening has to be dealt with immediately, no question! But there is a balance to what should be tolerated or not, it’s a judgment call.

The person’s response is key, how do they behave afterwards or for the rest of the day? If concerns continue a quiet chat may be needed to understand more the about the situation. Remember, a lot could be going on in that person’s life so seek to understand first.

The rest of the team cannot be forgotten and has to be brought into the decision-making equation. One person’s behaviour cannot be allowed to impact the team in a negative way. It’s never easy to assess situations, especially if you don’t know all the fact. Speak to a few team members to get a different perspective if needed.

We have to accept, bad days happen, to all of us! Sometimes we simply need time and space to get through those days. Always being on top of people for everything seemly out of line doesn’t help relationships. Giving people space to reflect and internalise shows you trust them to work this out. A sign of a strong team is one that can self-heal.

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