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Challenge: When someone shows up to a meeting, emotional about something outside of work, where do I draw the line between things being tough for them and holding them responsible for doing their job?
Coach Response: You can choose the route of listening for a brief time at the beginning, but realize that it could become the basis of your relationship. An alternative is:
- State your intentions for the call and ask if they are ready to go.
- If yes, get to work.
- If not, ask them to reschedule for a later time and end the call.
The pushback from your own brain is probably, “But I don’t want them to think I’m being cold or impersonal.” Here’s the truth…you’re time is valuable and you’re paying them to be at the meeting with you. There’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to help them get focused on work, but it’s perfectly okay to think of the business first. If this becomes a habit, they’ll begin to think that you are more like friends and get the impression that it’s okay to show up to work an emotional mess. If that’s not the precedent or culture you want to establish, create the boundary and hold to the expectation that people show up ready to work.