I wanted to share here a win, that on the surface can seem small, but feels huge to me.
For the past two weeks (hello sprint model) there has been tension between me and another team member who I would describe as my work best friend. I think some of this stress may be coming from the economic climate and pressure to fundraise but regardless, our communication was deteriorating and it was affecting the larger team.
We are both directors on different teams and this past sprint, we have had competing/overlapping projects. I wanted more collaboration and transparency and was getting a lot of pushback and resistance from my coworker. I suggested moving our conversations to public vs. private slack threads which then resulted in less communication overall. I felt like this was leading to poor practices around transparency in data collection and lack of processes. I was so upset about this, my work best friend, now barely talking to me, had really impacted how I approached the work and felt about my job overall.
I brought this up to our CEO in our 1 on 1s, I was terrifed. I thought that being a squeaky wheel could get me fired immeditably (an irrational automatic thought, but hey, honesty). They were not only extremely validating, but they set up a time for us to have a relationship equity meeting. This was basically a time for both of us to share what had been happening. Our CEO mediated, mostly sitting quietly, and sometimes prompted us to share. It was so awkward but ultimately amazing. This led to my co-worker sharing that they felt that I no longer trusted them and their judgment. I didn't realize I had done this. We were both able to see each other's side, own up to our assumptions, apologize, and build ways to avoid this in the future. Our CEO shared that they and the other c-level members have a relationship equity meeting once a week to help address these issues, sometimes there is nothing to discuss, and sometimes there is a lot.
It sounds so small and basic, of just talking to my co-worker and listening to them. Having our boss encourage us to set aside protected time for this because it is really important was huge for me. This is the first time I have had a boss who was so transparent about how not only they handle issues like this but also walked us through and checked in with me after and encouraged us to prioritize this.
Hopefully this post encourages more people to feel comfortable raising issues and for other managers to try a technique and encourage team members to have protected relationship equity time. 💕