Say one more word…

29 07 2015

“A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally” ~ Oscar Wilde

“The final test of a gentleman is his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.” ~William Lyon Phelps

Courtesy and respect should be the default “setting” in your leadership chip.  This is most important when dealing with the front-line staff in any organization.  When things aren’t going right, it’s OK to turn up the pressure to perform, but that pressure should be applied with respect, until a lack of performance creates a situation where you need to be more blunt about the consequences of non-performance.

The first quote made me laugh, because of the “unintentionally” line at the end.  Rarely, after multiple attempts to be nice, while still trying to incent your team member to get the job done, it does become time to “not be nice”.  Of course, by that point, you should have built up a bullet-proof case for termination using progressive discipline.  My wife got there once with a problem employee in the past.  She tried everything to get this person to improve their performance and had given them multiple warnings and write-ups.  One day, after failing again, and making lame excuses about the failure she’d reached the end, and said “John, this is the last straw.  If you say one more word, you’re fired!”  John said “I’m Sorry.”  She replied with “That’s one more word, you’re fired!”  Leadership lesson: Communicate your expectations clearly, including consequences of an employee’s actions (or inaction).

Speaking of gentlemen…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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