In sports, we play the game by following the rules, putting
points on the board, and playing good defense. But sometimes there is a
breakdown. There is cause to halt the game. Someone stepped out of bounds or
got hurt. When this happens, we are used to hearing the referee blow the
In life, it is easy to go about our days dealing with our
people, working, making money: putting points on the board. We go through life
as just another player on the court. But where is the ref?
Without the whistle, opposing teams turn into enemies.
Without the whistle, the game devolves into a street fight. Without the
whistle, all but the most jaded get burned out.
In life, invariably someone steps out of line, or gets hurt. Inconveniently, this happens when we are working toward an objective: get out the door, make the sale, finish the project. You have a choice. You can continue to be just another player. You can ignore the problems, allow them to fester, forestall the consequences
Or, you can do what is necessary to finish the day, dedicating time at the end to talk it through. This is not just about asking questions. (How did that make you feel?) It is about making a call. Someone committed a foul? They need to know that! Someone stepped out of bounds? If you don’t tell them, who will?
Sometimes you are not the leader. If you don’t have power to convene a meeting, do what is necessary to convince those who do that if this continues unchecked, both the team and the game will suffer. If you are a leader, allow followers to give feedback and prove to them that you value them by taking it to heart.
Are your objectives in life more important to you than your relationships? Are your relationships more important? You must decide, because out of that answer comes the way you handle breakdowns.
For my money, be a ref, not just a player.