Ana does not like confrontation. She prefers to avoid it. But, something happened a few weeks ago that’s been bugging her.

She was in a meeting with William and his team. When she couldn’t answer a couple of the team’s questions and said she’d get back with them, William kept at it, asking more questions like he didn’t want to let it go. Instead of helping her in this uncomfortable situation, he put her on the spot even more. Ana felt awful. 

She’s thought a lot about that meeting since then. With time having passed, though, she wonders if she’s exaggerated it in her mind, if she should just let it go, or if she should do something about it.

Ana used to report to William. Back then he was supportive of her. But, since their boss promoted her into a role equal to his level, he hasn’t been the same.

As she described what it felt like when William kept asking questions with his team looking on, knowing she didn’t have the answers, Ana thought of something he’d said in the past. She hadn’t thought of it until she was telling me about this experience. 

In a meeting with others a couple of years ago when Ana reported to William, he said “when I see blood, I go for more.” And then he laughed. Others chuckled, but Ana didn’t and tucked it in the back of her mind. It was a side of him she hadn’t experienced. Now, she has. 

We talked about her scheduling time to talk with him about that meeting. I encouraged her to approach the conversation with an open, curious mind, not accusatory. Instead of viewing it as confronting him, tell him she was disappointed in how he handled it. She was surprised, because he knows she is a thinker and would respond afterwards with a clear, thorough message. What made him keep asking questions he knew she couldn’t answer at that point?

Also, let him know she would appreciate it if he never does that again. And ask if she can depend on it in the future.

By talking it out in our call, Ana felt more comfortable about addressing it. She realized it was bothering her for good reason and that by addressing it with William, she’s not only letting him know she did not appreciate it, she’s also asking him to think about the example he’s exhibiting for his team. How would he feel if someone did it to him?

There’s so much that could be said about this experience. If you were in Ana’s shoes, what would you say or do? 

Share Button