Defuse an escalating situation between leads

I was attending a meeting. The meeting was between three leads of different engineering teams including me. All three leads worked on developing a new infrastructure solution. An objective of the meeting was to find a path forward on what response one of our APIs should return.

Two of the leads had opposing views. Their dispute escalated to raised voices and they stopped to each other arguments. I realized that such a situation will lead to damaged relationships and will stall our progress. I decided to deescalate it.

First, I took control of the meeting by raising my hand. I gave a credit to both of them for looking for the best solution, given this is an important decision we need to make. Second, I pointed that either of their proposals is easy to implement and reverse if it fails. Third, I asked to make a follow-up on this topic in a couple of days so I can investigate which approach I would recommend taking.

They agreed on my proposal and we executed it. In the next meeting, we chose an approach which was right for the project and followed industry standard. Also, I met with one of the leads in 1:1 and recommended them to invite another one for coffee so they can get over the escalated situation and rebuild trust.


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