That Which Hits The Fan

– Is not equally distributed.

I’m sure we all know a tag line to the title but I thought I’d finish it in terms for polite company.

How many of us have worked for bosses who believed in tarring everyone with the same broad brush when mistakes happen?  It didn’t matter how large or small a role was played by the individual staff members – everyone got the same amount of blame and criticism, usually in as public a forum as possible.  I don’t know about you but being publicly humiliated for something I had nothing to do with was never high on my list of happy work events.  Even when the boss learned that the tirade was aimed at the wrong people was there any change in the behavior? Having gone through the ordeal by fire didn’t we all swear never to do what that boss did?  And yet, now that we’re in positions of management we may show that very same tendency.   It’s understandable but is it ever acceptable?

Obviously our initial reaction when a mistake rears its ugly head is not to smile and let everyone know there’s nothing to worry about.  Of course there’s something to worry about.  But flying off the handle, chastising staff publicly and blaming everyone is not going to erase the error.  Fix the problem for your customer first.  Then address the mistake directly with the staff responsible for it, focusing on the issue and not the individual.  Use the mistake as a teachable moment for the rest of your staff.  So what result can you expect from such an approach? How about employees striving for quality performance and accepting responsibility for mistakes because they know they will be treated fairly.

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