Calling Out Bad Behaviour

Updated: Nov 1, 2019

Is it ever O.K. not to call out bad behaviour? Sure it can be a difficult thing to do but is living with the consequences of ignoring it any better?

Consider this scenario:


You're new to a team, let's say recently promoted. You've worked hard to get the promotion, you believe you can add value to the team and you believe that having personal values aligned with the company values is important. You also believe that as a leader you have a role to visibly demonstrate and support those values to all employees. You've been asked to showcase one of the projects that you and your team have been working on at an executive team meeting so you take the opportunity to bring along one of your up & coming team members to do some of the presentation with you.


Your young team member arrives at the meeting ready and eager to present but the meeting is runing behind time. Rather than send your team member away you invite them in so that they can get a feel for the room and be ready to go. Just as they sit down the discussion starts to become heated, two of the team are blaming each other for something, another couple of team members are having a giggle about the two going at it, another decides to turn their attention to their phone and laptop and then there is you.....

You have so many thoughts running through your mind - How can this be happening? What are they thinking? Is this normal behaviour for this group? Is anyobody going to do something?

What do you do? What example do you set for your young team member? What impact will your choice (say something or do nothing) have on your standing with the team? Or on your confidence in your ability to lead by example?

Rest assured that whatever you choose to do in that moment will have far reaching effects for you, for the executive team and for the young employee who witnessed that leadership behaviour.