to explode or not to explode?

ex . plo . sion  / Pronunciation [ik-sploh-zhuhn]

  1. an act or instance of exploding; a violent expansion or bursting with noise, as of gunpowder or a boiler (opposed to implosion).
  2. the noise itself: The loud explosion woke them.
  3. a violent outburst, as of laughter or anger.
  4. a sudden, rapid, or great increase: a population explosion.
  5. the burning of the mixture of fuel and air in an internal-combustion engine.

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

The meeting started pretty harmlessly, just like any other weekly team meetings where the focus would be on updates of work status. However, one gets the expression that the other shoe was going to fall as the we went into the first 10 minutes.

The other shoe did fall. And it fell with a very loud explosion. Suffice to say, a lot of frustration was aired by 2 of the team members. They used me as an example though. If this example is seen from a point of view that’s not too friendly, it could indicate that they’re critisizing me and my scope of work. Like questioning my decision to be involved in content development while at the same time wearing the logistics and area coordinator hat. Like not being focused on what’s more important and urgent.

Seen from a more task-oriented objective point of view, this could be taken as an attempt of a more senior team member to protect another from unwise use of her time i.e. Batman speaking up for Robin because Batman knows better and Batman has seen this happening before and Batman doesnt want Robin to be put in situations where Robin will not be able to focus on his strengths.

Thank goodness I read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking http://www.amazon.com/Blink-Power-Thinking-Without/dp/0316172324/ref=pd_sim_b_1/102-7101110-3615323?ie=UTF8 and became more aware of how snap judgements can be really useful and not just hasty decisions that are poorly-made. I observed the situation and assessed it. My decision was to keep quiet and keep a neutral facial expression (read: blank). Main message I wanted to convey: whatever that’s being discussed was an example, not an exact case in point. It’s always advantageous to keep a few cards up one’s sleeve.

It worked. The small strategy bought me some extra time to get a better feel of the whole situation and find out the source of frustration experienced by a couple of the team members. The outcome was positive – our responsibilities have been made clearer and thankfully I’ll be able to return home earlier. Most importantly, the underlying current of tension that I sensed when I first got here has gone.

I did not explode. Good for me. 2 things to do when I get home:

  1. Learn chess strategies
  2. Learn how to play poker

Sounds doable 😉

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