This last weekend our team had one of the biggest weekends of our year. It was one of those all hands-on deck moments – one where once we’re done, we rally the troops, eat delicious food, and celebrate the win that was this weekend.

However, we ran into a huge issue in one aspect of the event and I looked around and realized one of the top leaders I trust was nowhere to be found – I also realized his team was trying to operate without him, but they were overloaded. He showed up almost an hour late, and to make matters worse, never acknowledged anything.

His team did great – he celebrated the win with everyone and everyone on the outside looking in thought it was a great day. I wasn’t so excited. Here’s this key leader that I trust that let me down and almost let the organization down.

I’ll be honest, I wanted to go in a room and yell until my voice hurt. I wanted to tell him how frustrated I was, and how him dropping the ball was unacceptable. Either play with the team or get off the team. But, after some coaching and counseling – I realized there was a better way to do it. Here’s what I did.

#1 – Speak with Grace

The first thing that someone reminded me of was mistakes that I had made. It’s easy to forget them when you’re angry, but chances are you’ve made a mistake (maybe even today) that nearly cost someone else something great. When you remember that, this conversation can be way easier.

Be the leader you needed when you made the mistake.

#2 – Use Emotion Words, Not Structural Words

Usually the way we go into the meetings is using words like frustration, letting us down, not measuring up, etc. This time I changed it up – I used words like I trust you, and it hurts when this doesn’t happen. I also talked about the why – the vision – and how sold out I am. When I use those words, it’s less about what they’re doing and more about who they’re doing it too. If you’re the leader I think you are, this will impact them.

#3 – Avoid Generalities

This is my guilty experience right here. I go in and try to make my point by saying “everybody knows this isn’t happening,” or “you never do this.” This immediately puts defenses up. Here’s what you have to remember – they know they did something wrong. In a moment when you can chastise them – correct them and move on. This will build credit in the bank and trust between you two.

What are ways that you are handling being let down?