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Meetings Communication Feedback Manipulation Power Plays and Players

I run a small department, and my manager scheduled an 11:00 a.m. meeting with me and two other department heads. At a few minutes before 11:00, I arrived at the meeting, but it was already going and the topic was focused on how to improve my department (which is running extremely well). I didn't know this was the topic, and I was incensed that they started without me, but I didn't say anything about it. Do I have a right to be annoyed?

You walked into an ambush that sounds like a corporate version of the O.K. Corral. And, that's not O.K.

You certainly have a right to be annoyed, but being annoyed is not going to solve the problem. You should meet with your manager to discuss what happened.

Tell your manager that you are concerned over the way the meeting went, and you are wondering why the discussion about your department started before you arrived. Unless there is a particularly compelling explanation, let your manager know that this kind of format can generate frustration, dissent, and distrust. You should also mention that meetings typically tend to be more effective if the participants are advised of the key topics in advance. The O.K. Corral did not have a happy ending, and neither do meetings that resemble it.

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