I am the kind of person that lets everyone speak their piece. I try not to shut anyone down. Everyone’s opinions are valuable and it’s important that everyone feels heard.
As I grew in my career, I realized that were certain folks that were put on this planet solely to make life miserable. I have met three of them in my career and I pray that I never have to work with another one, but the odds are not in my favor.
These are the people that don’t agree or like a single decision that you make, they are unhappy with their entire life (personal and professional), they are entitled but don’t want to put in the work and they make every single meeting and decision that they are involved in a special kind of hell.
I used to try to please these people and I hated every minute of it. I knew that if I didn’t learn how to shut them down politely, that I was going to explode (like the scene in Office Space where he smashes his computer).
I started to watch how some of the most senior folks I worked with dealt with these people and everyone handled it differently.
A gentle, stern, and polite “respectfully, I disagree” with a short follow-up on why will do.
There will also be times in your career where you are right and they are wrong, and that’s okay you just have to learn how to address it.
You know the scene in mean girls where Cady hearing and Aaron are sitting in the math class and with each question that he answers you hear her say in her head “wrong”.
There have been so many times in my career when I have been sitting next to somebody in the exact same situation. I worked on the project and I am certain of the answers and someone who thinks they know it all is jumping to look like they did more than they did.
I used to let it go. I knew the right answer, they were wrong, and it would come back to bite them in the butt later. I didn’t have the courage to call them out in front of other people. Then I realized that by letting others provide incorrect information was just as bad. It can feel intimidating to speak up in a large meeting, but if incorrect information is being provided it should get addressed.