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A heated argument, a team in crisis, and one powerful mediator

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Emily and Andrew's argument was so heated they didn't even notice Caroline walk in.


Emily was red in the face, pointing a finger at Andrew. "You're undermining my authority in front of the students and stealing my ideas."


Andrew's face was contorted with anger. "Your lesson plans are a mess.” Andrew finally noticed Caroline’s presence. He pointed at Emily, “She's always taking sick days! I have to do her planning for her. I can’t take it any more!"


Caroline took a deep breath. She reminded herself to stay calm and collected, to be a mediator and not to let her own emotion get the best of her.


"What's going on here?" she demanded, her voice firm but even.


Emily and Andrew repeated their frustrations. Caroline tried to remain impartial, "Okay, we need to work together to resolve these issues."


But Emily and Andrew continued to argue, interrupting each other and raising their voices. Caroline could feel her frustration and anger building up inside of her. She closed her eyes, trying to regain control of her emotions, but it was no use.


Without thinking, she jumped to her feet and slammed both of her fists on the table with a loud crash.


"What the hell is wrong with you two?" Caroline roared, her face contorted with rage. "Can't you see the damage you're causing? Your petty squabbles are making this whole team suffer, and I'm sick of it! You need to stop this nonsense and start acting like the professionals you're supposed to be!"


The room fell silent, and Emily and Andrew looked at Caroline in shock. They had never seen her lose her cool like this before.


Caroline's eyes blazed with anger, and her breathing was heavy and ragged. She took a step forward, looming over Emily and Andrew, and pointed a trembling finger at each of them.


"You two are the problem," she snarled. "You're both so wrapped up in your own egos and petty grievances that you can't even see how your behavior is affecting everyone else. You need to grow up and start taking responsibility for your actions, or I swear to god, I'll make sure you regret it."


Without another word, she stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind her, leaving Emily and Andrew stunned and speechless.


After a couple of hours, Caroline gathered her composure and went and found Emily and Andrew in their classrooms. She apologized to each of them for her outburst and for letting her emotions get the best of her.


They both accepted her apology and Caroline was relieved. But as she drove home that day, she couldn’t shake a sinking feeling. This conflict was far from over. If something didn't change soon, the whole team was going to suffer the consequences.


The next week, Caroline sat at her desk, deep in thought. She had to come up with a solution that would put an end to the constant fighting between Emily and Andrew.


Suddenly, an idea popped into her head…



Are you dealing with a difficult person in your team, right now?


Discover the system for dealing well with difficult people, even if you hate conflict, in my book Step Up or Step Out.

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