I remember a meeting a few years ago. Sitting in a well appointed office, I was there to finalize paperwork on a business decision. A warm coffee in hand, I was not looking forward to reviewing the stack of documents on the table. I begin to glance through them quickly and notice a correction; showing it to my adviser. A little rattled with the error, he begins to review the documents personally and catches additional mistakes.
Without warning, he yells for his assistant in the next room. She comes into the conference room with a less than helpful look in her eye. (Mental note: Apologize to everyone who may have been my unwilling victim as a boss.)
As she looms over him, he begins to point out each mistake. Her posture stiffens; her attitude becomes defensive, without regard to my presence. The conversation between them is tense. Finger pointing, blame shifting abound; I begin to wonder if I am in the right meeting.
The irony is that even our trusted advisers or power brokers are susceptible to being wimpy bosses. My expert was trying to be proactive, and there may be better ways to handle this situation without losing face in the client’s eyes.
Option One: The boss takes the documents into the other room to discuss the changes, saving the third party from witnessing the blame game.
Option Two: Apologize to the client and let them know you’ll revise the information and get it to them quickly. Talk to the assistant after the client has left.
There is no mistake on who is really the responsible party.