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You’re sitting in a meeting when two influential colleagues hijack the conversation and turn it into a high stakes game of chicken with your project.

You’re not quite sure how you let it happen, but sheer terror emerges as you recognize overconfident people are loudly and speedily sharing semi-logical information. Yes, semi-logical: sh*t logic wrapped in a delicious layer of good logic.

If you let them continue, the phony information will spread like wildfire. If you interrupt, you’ll be a casualty of involuntary ego-cide, career death by egotistical recklessness. You don’t stop a tiger fight by sending Bambi in as a moderator.

I want to believe that I am self-sufficient. That within my ingenious female ecosystem lies impenetrable savvy.

The kind of savvy that will propel me into a position of leadership. A position worthy of a proper title.

After all, I am a strong candidate. A formidable opponent. A listener. A learner. A friend. A skilled and self-sacrificing business woman.

All in the name of the greater good.

I’m not self-sufficient.

I know an executive who makes his associates work 24/7. Oh, you know him, too? The arrogant, or ignorant, or insecure one who parallel-paths every workstream with the fast and loose inefficiency that makes you want to weep in your sleep?

But this story is not about him. This story is about you–the mid-level manager who gets sent in to do the dirty work whenever executive’s huevos are too full, and he doesn’t want to be seen as “the bad guy.”

Today you sit with a group of young, red-eyed associates. Your mandate is to yell. To teach these darling fledglings that blinking an eyelash on Saturday at midnight over a false deadline after enduring a grueling work week is unacceptable. In fact, no eyelash-batting shall be permitted. EVER. “Excellence demands unwavering focus.”

How do you approach it? What do you do?