Don’t ya just hate giving someone an inch and them taking a mile? It happens every now and then to us all, but it still shocks us that some people see an opening or a perceived weakness in us and they dive in and start orchestrating things at our workplace or our personal lives.
How do we deal with those scoundrels who take over when they feel they got us? Head on! I say it is okay to be tricked, bamboozled or conned by these people because good hearted people can have that happen to them every now and then and it’s ok but good hearted doesn’t mean weak hearted.
I recently had a business colleague misinterpret some free reign and niceness as weakness which in turn started causing problems in one of my business operations. She started feeling she could start making her stamp of change, discontent and personal control over business related issues. She was a relatively new associate and inexperienced in this type of business.
She certainly brewed up some discontent within the organization, but just slightly though, so far. We did a quick but yet thorough investigation into the facts of the problems she caused. My General Manager was angry but suggested I allow him to work slowly to try and figure her out and possibly take care of the problems working the peripheral. He’s a great GM and runs an outstanding ship but this time I overruled his suggestion. I told him that I will talk to her as soon as possible and bring out the negative facts that were not in dispute and explain that no one comes into my house and causes discontent and problems.
I had a meeting with her soon after the incidents in question occurred. I started by telling her that I was very angry as to what she had done several days earlier and that I would not accept any such behavior. She admitted to drinking too much at a company function and she said that she didn’t mean things to be taken as how they were perceived. I made it clear what behavior was completely unacceptable and I asked her if she could do things as I just explained and directed. She said yes. I told her that organizations just like families have problems but they can be fixed-up and forgotten. Furthermore, that I would forget everything that occurred and start with a new slate; I meant it.
She went on and said that she had embarrassed herself and probably got too many people angry at her and that she wouldn’t be coming back. I told her that she was welcome to stay and that I felt she’d be welcomed by everyone else but that it was her decision. She decided to not come back.
When my GM heard what had happened at the meeting he was excited and quite happy about what I did. He said in retrospect, he knew that I made the right move to quickly get to the root of the organizational cancer and stop it, no matter what. He said he learned a valuable lesson in how I handled it. He’s a good leader, constantly striving for excellence and I’m fortunate to have him.
As for the disruptive colleague, I heard through the grapevine that she said I was too angry when I talked to her. Damn Skippy I was. As I said, you don’t come into my house and disrespect others, lie about others and undermine my leadership. It will not be accepted and you are out the door if that occurs. It’s not fair to the good organizational family members, and hurts the mission at hand. She was a cliché individual who loved controlling things and people when she sensed opportunity. People like that need to be confronted immediately and stopped. Niceness is not weakness and when dealing with such users, one can go from friendly to felonious in a flash (figuratively) to stop the damage brewing. These users will be shocked to see that you are not a pushover. Stand up for yourself and stand up for the right thing when dealing with people like this.
As for leadership: leadership is service to others and to the mission. People rely on a leader. Leaders must lead or get out of the way and let someone else do it who can. Sometimes it’s important to take bold steps or let others take the reign who believe in their ability to do the right thing.
Steve's a three-time survivor of violence in his youth and was an award winning police officer.
For several years, Steve also did radio political and current event commentary and taught college Criminal Justice. He is the former host of the long running 'The Kovacs Perspective' Internet radio talk show.
Presently, Steve is the owner and Managing Director of one of the oldest martial art schools in Ohio, 'The Mayfield Academy of Self-Defense'.
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