Dealing with People Who Derail Meetings

by Roger Schwarz

What does your team do when someone takes a meeting off track? If your team is like most, the leader says something like, “Lee, that’s not what we’re talking about now” or “Let’s get back on track” or the team simply ignores Lee’s comment and tries to bring the conversation back to the original topic.

But if your team responds in any of these ways, Lee may continue to press his off-topic point, the meeting may drag on with members getting more frustrated with Lee, and the team may not accomplish its meeting goals. Or Lee may stop participating for the rest of the meeting and the team, without realizing it, will lose Lee’s critical input and support for implementing a team decision. ...

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