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Conflict Teamwork Communication Arguments

One of my fellow managers charged into my office and started ranting and raving about how one of my employees made some mistakes and caused his employees to be late on our joint project. I barked back at him, and I knew immediately that was a mistake. What is the best way to handle this type of situation?

When managers come charging into fellow managers' offices in a rant-and-rave mode, this does not exactly qualify them for rave reviews from the American Management Association. At the same time, you are correct in thinking that it was not a great idea to get into barking contest with him.

Looking first at the actual situation, the best approach for you to take when encountering this type of verbal attack is to listen, let him recite his litany, and then take the one step that can help resolve the matter: tell him that you will look into the situation immediately and get back to him as soon as possible. After all, when he is going through his tirade, you have no way of knowing if his facts concerning your employee are accurate or not. There is not much of a basis for a discussion or an argument until you have checked out the situation.

After you have conducted your investigation, the next step is to meet with this manager and present him with facts, documentation, and a suggested plan of correction, whether the problem was caused by your employee or not. After all, it is a joint project.

The real issue is that your two departments are dependent upon each other on various projects, but it sounds like there has been minimal managerial communication and coordination during such projects. The best way to avoid this kind of problem in the future is for the two of you to establish a more formalized timetable which calls for both of you to meet at several points along the way to discuss progress and resolve problems before they turn into crises.

When there are surprises at the end of an interdepartmental project, they are typically symptoms of a lack of adequate managerial communication and follow-up during the life of the project. And, speaking of communication, you and your fellow manager should discuss the blow-up that occurred and commit yourselves to talk rather than rant, rave, or bark if problems develop.

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