I wrote a while ago about being less of a jerk. And I think I’ve been making progress (although you’d have to ask my team). But this week, I lost it. I raised my voice. I yelled at the project lead of a consulting team I was working with.

It was only for a moment. It felt good. And it got the results I wanted. But that’s not how I like to operate.

But why then why am I #sorrynotsorry? To help you understand, here’s my (admittedly biased) take on the situation:

  • For several weeks, I’ve been pushing the PM’s team to get certain things to the client. It wasn’t going well. And this week, the team promised something and failed to deliver it. But that wasn’t the reason I yelled.
  • When I spoke to the PM, he used weasel words to try and explain his way out of it, instead of taking responsibility. As in “the consultant didn’t understand what was supposed to happen.” What I was waiting to hear was, “My team wasn’t communicating well. We’re sorry, and we’ll fix it.” But that’s not why I yelled.
  • At the end of the call, the PM said he could tell I was getting emotional. He could hear it in my voice. THAT’s when I yelled. (I wasn’t alone in this. The client was also livid with the PM’s performance.)

I can understand if you mess up in a BI project. And I can understand using weasel words to try and explain it (even though I don’t like it). I know I have a highly (some would say overly) developed sense of responsibility—that’s why I run my own business.

But if you’re not delivering week after week, and then you feel the need to point out that I’m sounding emotional about it, that’s not going to help.

Indeed, I had previously spoken to the PM’s boss about how the PM would describe things as tense when he was asked tough questions. He was told this wasn’t helpful. But obviously the message didn’t get through.

I will say that the anger here wasn’t just caused by the PM’s lack of tact. It comes from a feeling of responsibility. I had recommended the PM’s firm to the client because a long time business friend of mine was the sales rep. She’s a stand up person, and I could count on her to make things right in such situations. But she left. And while the client ultimately made the decision to hire the firm (and I was only a marginally involved in the selection process), I still feel responsible. I hate recommending anything that doesn’t turn out to be top notch.

In the future, I should have been more direct—both about the way the PM spoke in meetings and the fact he wasn’t meeting my expectations. Because then my repressed annoyance wouldn’t have come out in anger. But I’ll never lower my standard and accept anything less than top notch work.

What makes you yell? Or do you just keep calm and carry on?

 

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