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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jaw Dropping

After a certain amount of time, or maybe after a certain number of incidents, poor leadership practices begin to be almost expected.

Allow me to share one that, though I wasn't really surprised, still left with my mouth gaping open.

Hearken back to the meeting that I witnessed and shared with you a week or so ago. If you haven't read the post What Happened Here? And the follow up Low Trust Environment follow the links and learn about this fantastic meeting that I was able to observe.

Now let me share what else happened.

Photo courtesy of loungerie, Some Rights Reserved

During the discussion of driver's logs that were being implemented, the General Manager said,
"Guys, I don't know how to explain the owner (we'll call him Steve), he's a really weird guy, he'll see something going on and just freak out and jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts."

To this the mechanic chimed in,
"Yeah, Steve came in here reaming me and almost firing me because a truck wasn't fixed (the mechanic later told he he had exaggerated a bit about the firing part)."

And then, not to be outdone, the trucking foreman jumped in and said,
"Guys, there are days that Steve drives by and sees one of you parked at the gas station and he texts me wanting to know why you aren't working. I'll get, sometimes 10-12 texts like that a day."

Can you see why my jaw hit the floor??

Three management level personal taking shots at their boss in front of their employees??

To be fair, I don't think these managers were necessarily complaining about the owner, they were just simply stating facts as they saw them.

No matter the justification, let me give you 4 reasons why this is a HORRIBLE idea.

1. The others don't know your intentions. You may just be stating facts, but they don't know the owner as you do, so given this information, they will assume they are working for the most arrogant, rude, SOB to ever run a company.

2. If you are willing to stand before them and list your boss' weaknesses, your employees will wonder what you say about them in their absence.

3. You're a leader. Those who follow you mimick your behavior. If you make a habit of recognizing and pointing out your superior's faults, rest assured they'll make a habit of pointing out yours!

4. You'll see productivity drop like the temperature in Antartica! Why would employees work hard when they're sure they work for such a selfish jerk?

Bottom line, as Dave Ramsey says, gossip is a cancer in your organization. And I would add, ESPECIALLY when it's leadership complaining about leadership. No good can come from it!

Question: What would you have done if you'd been in that meeting? And how would you work to change the culture and eliminate gossip?

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Twitter: @Skropp2


  1. Sounds like "Steve" deserved it. NOT! I think I would have told them to stop and stop whining. Even, if it was my boss/supervisor - I may have worded it a little differently if it was my supervisor. I don't think my reaction would be mich of a surprise because it is generally known that I don't like or put up with that kind of talk around me. I may just walk away if they didn't stop. Not sure if I would report it, but I probably should.

    1. Ya. It was pretty unbelieveable. I'm sure I should've said something, but I was busy trying to get my jaw back up off the floor...rest assured when I move on the boss will hear about it. Maybe sooner :) sucks when a good friend of the boss is in the meeting where you're trashing him :)

  2. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Kindness matters.