Working in teams while planning a meeting can be challenging. It isn’t easy. As meeting & event planners, is very easy to overstep our boundaries and play in someone else’s sandbox. Because we are all type A right? Although you might be compelled to step over and lend your 2 cents, you might want to think twice in your approach. Why? Because as meeting and event planners, we can be sensitive to opinions and the creativity of others leaking over into our already beautifully painted canvas.

It’s about humility and respect

Sometimes you might find yourself in a role that you normally aren’t in. Perhaps you are the assistant planner, or just going on-site instead of being the lead planner on an meeting or event. If you find yourself in a similar situation and have an opinion about the way the lead planner plans, you might want to keep your thoughts to yourself. Just because the planner doesn’t plan like you do, doesn’t mean that the end result can’t be just as successful as it would be if you were the lead. Perhaps you can offer your suggestions in a respectful manner, and learn some tips in the process by working with the other planner that is in the lead seat.

It’s about boundaries

Do you enjoy it when cars come over the line into your lane while you are driving on the freeway? It’s scary right? Sometimes we honk the horn, or swerve to get out of their way. That is how a colleague might feel when you overstep your bounds and brashly offer suggestions or push them to do things your way. Stick to your lane! If you find the need to move over, turn on your blinker, let that planner know that you have something to offer, and wait for them to give you the space to move in. To do it in a pushy way, is rude.

It’s about accountability

So, what happens when there is a problem? Who is accountable? If you are stepping into someone else’s shoes…accountability can be sketchy. Herein lies the problem with not sticking to your role. If things go wrong, and boundaries were crossed, then the blame can be placed on the wrong person. By not sticking to your role, you might have a tendency to miss things in the role that you were assigned. If that is the case, then you still will be held accountable for where you fell short. Make sure that your responsibilities are met, and slow your role.

It’s about success

I am sure that there are unique situations in which you have to take a meeting over and do everything, or in order to appease the client you need to take charge. However, it is respectful to acknowledge the roles that have been set, and consult with the person in that role. If you need to, escalate the matter to leadership so that they are aware of the unique circumstances and why you need to step in. Taking these steps will keep everyone in the loop and set the meeting up for more diplomatic success, instead of drama.

Have you had a situation were someone was disrespectful of your role? Perhaps, a positive outcome from role switching? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below.

Photo credit: Switching Lanes by Basically Advanced via Flickr