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I completely disagree. If you're running a meeting, you're accountable for keeping that meeting on the rails. If that means cutting off someone senior and getting the meeting back on track, or asking them to stay focused, or redirecting the conversation to let others speak, then that's what you need to do.

Seniority is a matter of job description. My job as a senior engineer involves driving alignment on the design and implementation of features. When I run meetings, they have an agenda and concrete outputs. If someone derails the meeting, I will politely but forcefully run them over. When that bubbles up into an interpersonal conflict, as it sometimes does, I'm again, polite but forceful.

I know what my job is, and I hold myself accountable for getting it done.

The only time I've been openly rude to someone was a Senior Principal at AWS who thought derailing 12+ engineer meetings to rant about unrelated topics was an acceptable use of time. The rudeness was probably uncalled for, but it got the job done and was (surprisingly) well received.




Correct that this is your #1 job.

But it would be even better if you could do that job, AND not make people feel shitty / mad / disrespected in the process.

As someone who struggles with this, getting the "emotional layer" right, on top of the base objective of doing your job, is sort of the next level of competence you might think how to achieve.

It is very difficult to get right.




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