What happens when leader “takes the bait”? Any discussion important enough to be heated is also likely to get personal. And since it involves people, it is also possible that when things get personal, someone will take a cheap shot. I define a cheap shot as an accusation using personal past failure or vulnerability out of context solely to cause harm.
A leader must learn how to deal with the cheap shot. If the leader made it, then it is an opportunity to model a sincere apology. (We all let anger and frustration get the best of us occasionally.) If the cheap shot was aimed at the leader, then the trap is to fire a counter salvo, reducing the discussion to a grade school blame-fest. If the leader is there for the cheap shot, then an opportunity is presented to reinforce values and agreements in place for the team. A personal attack unaddressed sustains a value system that it is acceptable.
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