I hadn't met with this group in a long time because of summertime then maternity leave then no meeting in January then fog grounding my flight in February. I was excited to see everyone and looking forward to a productive day of learning and creating together.
I admit I didn't read the agenda ahead of time, so I didn't realize there were some unusual conversations planned. What problems are we encountering in delivering our work? How are we collecting and using data? What do we do when group members don't follow our norms of collaboration? This last one was what finally made me turn to my neighbor and ask, "Did something happen while I was gone?"
In short, things had happened. Members had been disrespectful. Leaders were taken off guard. A lack of induction had left new members without a framework for discussion. It would be easy to say that I wasn't there so it has nothing to do with me. But the truth is my favorite days last year were the days I worked with this group. It has been some of the greatest collaboration of my career. How did things get so toxic in my absence? And how can I help resolve some of it when I'm not even exactly clear on the problem? This weighs so heavily on me, I'm writing this blog on my phone at the airport instead of waiting until I get home. Any conflict mediation experts out there? Or should I just stay out of it?