Everyone wants something. Often the exact opposite as a colleague needs. And you find yourself in the middle of it. You feel yourself pulled and pushed and you know you want to check the topic off as done, but how?
As long as you do nothing, the discussion won’t stop.
So you have to do something. You have to take the lead.
Which doesn’t mean you should choose a side. Making friends as well as enemies at the same time. It means you should make a decision to stop the discussion. Making it clear to everyone involved in the discussion what your next step is.
Thinking repetitive discussions will end itself without any lasting harm is like closing your eyes for what’s going on. Which won’t work at all and even makes next topics for hot discussions even worse. And as it harms the participants, doing nothing harms you too.
Thus it’s not choosing sides what’s needed. It’s taking one step forward in line with your decision to end it. An action to help people back to work again. E.g. by stopping people repeating their story again and by not allowing people to pile their problems as this doesn’t help.
There’s no learning, creating or delivering when you allow people to repeat their story over and over again. Stop a hot discussion fueling the topic.
To benefit from a hot topic with contradicting goals, it is necessary to show all people involved a way out. A way out with which no party risks to loose too much, like reputation, time and money. And yes, this is politics!
Like, your children having a row and you didn’t saw or heard who exactly started the row. In most cases I even don’t care who exactly started the row. I do care to stop it as it get’s less nice. And well, it’s exactly this ‘stop it’ I make my children crystal clear. Without paying much attention on who-did-what-by-when.
Like for your work, when you received a complaint from a client. Imagine a product or service you would definitely complain about when it was transferred as such to you. You want to have it solved, quality delivered, as soon as possible. So, make clear the discussion who-did-not-what etc. is past tense. You want people taking responsibility for the problem, even if the ones currently involved have nothing to do with the cause at all. You need people taking responsibility to solve it. That’s it.
And yes, it takes leadership to demand so. To stop repetitive discussions that lead to nowhere. Expecting people to take responsibility as well as not taking over your self. The latter with emphasis on managers who earlier had a function in the team they now manage.
3 actions to stop political discussions:
#1: Dig up the core.
What exactly is this fuss about?
#2: Stop every discussion.
What exactly is at stake for the organization, the company, the customer and your team?
#3: Decide to move on.
Take action. One step at a time. Stop repetitive talking, start doing.
The minute you manage stopping ongoing discussions, is the minute people have a way forward again. Often forward together. As long as you allow people to repeat grieves, problems, pitfalls and constraints over and over again, nothing changes. As their manager, once you’ve heard and thoroughly understood a story, it’s enough. Expect solutions instead.
The decision to stop ‘stories’, is a decision of care. Care for your self, for the people who report to you as well as for people affected by the results the team delivers.
Met vriendelijke groet / Kind regards,
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