Enlightened Conflict

what firing someone says about you

May 10th, 2017

you sir are fired

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“We should place confidence in our employee. Confidence is the foundation of friendship.

If we give it, we will receive it. Any person in a managerial position, from supervisor to president, who feels that his employee is basically not as good as he is and who suspects his employee is always trying to put something over on him, lacks the necessary qualities for human leadership – to say nothing of human friendship.”

 

—–

Harry Humphreys

 

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“The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work.”

 

—-

Agha Abedi

 

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Well.

 

Leading and managing people is possibly one of the most rewarding things you fire bee strategy drive incan do in a business career.

 

Firing people is possibly one of the most unrewarding things you can do in a business career.

 

Unfortunately these two things are inextricably linked.

 

I could argue that once you assume responsibility for firing someone you learn more about yourself, and I imagine others learn about you, than almost any other responsibility you assume as a leader.

 

No one likes firing people. Well. no one who is any good at business leadership. I don’t care if you absolutely hate the person you are firing, if the person has actually committed a fireable offense and you are in the right to fire them, or even if you fire someone for good reason … suffice it to say … it never feels good to fire someone.

 

And because of that … a good business leader never delegates the tough termination. And they never send someone to terminate a direct report.

Generally speaking … you fire anyone who is a direct report, or you were directly responsive for hiring, face to face.

 

Yeah.

setbacks one of those days poohThis may not be, logistically, the easiest thing to do but it is part of the burden of responsibility. It is the mantle you wear and it is what you are obligated to offer the person being terminated – dignity & respect.

 

Anything less than that and you are shirking your responsibility.  Anything less than that is … well … chicken shit. And you are a chickenshit business leader if you do not do these things.

 

Sure.

 

What I just shared is a hard lesson but one business people learn in young management.

 

I will never forget the first person I ever fired. Paul.

An absolute great guy in absolutely the wrong position and possibly career. But that doesn’t mean it was easy to terminate him. While I was 99% sure it was the right thing to do <and my boss and her bosses agreed> there was an extraordinarily loud 1% in my head that kept me awake that night.

Inevitably he chose a different career and went on to become an SVP of sales.

And he was kind enough to drop me a couple of notes to tell me it all worked out for the best.

 

But I will never forget firing him. I can honestly say I never forget anyone I have fired <and that is a semi-long list after years of management>.

 

However.

I would like to think my leadership career is measured more by the people I did not fire.

 

Not firing, in a larger organization, can be harder than you think.

 

I think I spent more time explaining to the most senior people why I would not fire some of the people I managed than I did ever discussing almost anything else about employees with them.

 

Well. That is … it felt that way.

The crap that floats upwards into senior leadership about individual employees is amazing. The littlest mistakes and quirks seem to take on exponential size when it arrives at the most senior people — and they do not hesitate to share their disproportional views.

 

Regardless. All of those views cut into the ‘trust belief’ … are they respected within the organization, do they have the trust of the organization and can they be trusted with their responsibility.

totally worth it show for it life

And that is when you earn your stripes as a manager. You do not cave in to the ‘easy thing to do’ but rather stand up for your people and let the chips fall as they may. Oh. And you learn it is totally worth it to not take the easy way out.

 

Let me be clear.

No one is perfect. I was not a perfect employee nor was a perfect manager. And, yet, when judging employees there sometimes is the ‘perfect measure’ of which becomes the absurd standard.

 

Yes.

We should judge senior people more critically but we should judge them fairly.

 

Anyway.

 

I didn’t fire a lot of people. And I can think of at least 4 who made me incredibly proud that I didn’t … despite some pressure from others to do so.

 

All 4 of these have sent me notes at different points, not thanking me for not firing them but rather for simply giving them a chance, believing in them and seeing something in them that they knew <because all employees know when they are under ‘the human resources microscope’>  many others didn’t.

All 4 of them have been professionally successful and, more importantly, are solid good human beings. Neither of those are because I didn’t fire them but rather vindicate the non-firing decision.

 

All that said.

 

Firing someone, despite the pain of actually doing it, is often the easy way out and is certainly a way to avoid looking at your own flaws.

 

Flaws? I sometimes believe one of the hardest things you can learn in your career is that your best is not particularly special.

Learning the fact that your talent, in reality, is matched by a shitload of people.

Learning that your best is relatively easily matched by a shitload of people.

 

It is an unfortunate truth that:

 

  • Talent is talent.
  • Smarts are smarts.
  • And expertise is almost always relative.

 

reality-slapped-you-really-hardAt any given point in Life and your career you can look around you and if you are self aware you will note you are rarely the most talented, rarely the smartest one in the room and rarely the only expert.

 

Even on your best day you may not actually be the best.

I imagine that is a tough thing to get your head wrapped around.

But I also imagine if you do wrap your head around it evaluating employees and how you fire them is affected.

 

I always watch how someone terminates an employee.

You can learn a lot about people in that situation … and you can learn a shitload about how someone feels about dignity, respect and responsibility in how they terminate an employee.

 

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Postscript 1: under the general heading of “chickenshit” from a business perspective:

 

There are hundreds of different viable reasons to fire someone and if you have the responsibility to hire & fire and it is ‘at will’ you can do what you want. But HOW Trump fired Comey was chickenshit.

 

It wasn’t face to face with a direct report <or even face to face with anyone … just a letter delivered by a non-government employee>.

November 24, 2015

While there appeared to be no sense of urgency to terminate the action was taken with an absurd sense of senseless urgency which permitted Comey the indignity of being blindsided, in the middle of a commitment to the people who reported to him and not even in town.

 

This was a chicken shit way of terminating an honorable employee. It is indicative of Trump’s lack of character.

 

Postscript 2: Under the general heading of “this is some crazy shit” from a business perspective:

 

Firing someone for lack of confidence when the people who you are actually working for have a general lack of confidence in you is slightly surreal.

 

This may actually be the ironic point of the day.

Yesterday Donald J Trump fired his FBI Director because of ‘lack of confidence.’ Well. If that is a true criteria and I were to look at some national polling data I could argue Trump could be fired on the same criteria by the American people.

 

Most leaders do not defend their firing decision through childish name calling.

 

“Crying Chuck” “Richie” in quotes <instead of Richard>. Calling people diminishing names. Childish crap like that. I have been criticized as a leader for people I have fired, as well as people who i didn’t fire, and when appropriate I responded with some “why I did it” information but I never deflected my choice & decision onto others by suggesting they were not qualified to criticize … and I certainly always treated peers with a modicum of respect.

 

Tweet response rather than standing up in person

 

Sniping from the sidelines is not leadership.

Period.

‘nuf said.

defining serial philanderer versus serial creep

October 14th, 2016

yes no hand statement 

 

Well.

 

Let me say this about Trump … because of this asshat I have had to have more conversations about guys, what we do and what we say, and don’t say, and why we do the things we do, or don’t do, then I have in years.

 

 

trump-not-all-men-are-like-thatOn October 9th I had to walk through what guys really don’t say in a locker room.

 

And what guys do say <and they don’t say any of the shit that Trump senior & junior imply we do>.

 

Today I felt the need to define the difference between a serial philanderer and a serial creep.

 

Now.

 

The Trump campaign is gonna do their damndest to blur the distinction the best they can.

 

Ignore the blurring.

 

I am gonna make it simple.

 

A father, husband, or any adult man knows the one guy you don’t trust around your wife, girlfriend/partner or … well … any woman. They are on constant low level “flirt status’ trolling for anyone who expresses even one iota of interest.

They are the ‘dogs’ who just want to sleep with any woman they can.

That guy is a serial philanderer.

 

 

A father, husband, or any adult man knows the one guy you don’t trust around your daughter.

That guy is a serial creep.

 

That was, and is, simple.

 

Now.

 

There is going to be a bunch of crap being thrown around to blur the discussion and to attempt to create some random equivalencies in order to attach Hillary to Bill <and inevitably> to Trump on this issue.

 

As Trump would say … “disaster” of a plan. ‘Poor judgement.’

 

A wife is a victim of a husband’s infidelity. Period.

 

A woman, all women, are victims of a creep. Period.

 

thinking inside head possibilities finiteBill. If we were to judge him thru a 2016 lens, versus whatever year lens we are trying to go back to, yes … he is guilty of .. well … I am not sure what he is guilty of.

He has faced allegations of which none have been proven in court <and the women , I believe, have had their day in court>. He had sex with a consenting adult <that is infidelity and not a crime>. So I guess in 2016 lens he would be viewed as a serial philanderer. But I also don’t remember him ever using the words Trump does nor do I ever remember him treating women in general as Trump does. Nor … which everyone seems to forget … do I remember Bill showing the overall pattern of disdain for people beyond women.

Regardless.

Adultery is adultery. On that issue both Trump and Bill were adulterers and philanderers.

Not a crime. Just a moral crime.

 

Trump. Here is Trump’s problem. He has been a bragging hyperbole driven lying asshole throughout this entire campaign. For the most part … everyone knows that he exaggerates everything. But. When you listen to the bus “grab & touch anyone I want” tape. And listen to what he says. And you combine it with everything else you have seen and heard … well … you sit back and go … whoa … that’s not exaggeration or sexist stupidity … I believe he actually does, and did, that.

 

Bill didn’t paw at women. He slept with them as an adulterer.

Trump not only was an adulterer but he took advantage of his position to touch, kiss and non consensually paw at women <while verbally demeaning them>.

That makes him a creep.

 

 

Hillary.

I don’t think she can say this <because she would be crucified> but I think she would say thru a 2016 culture lens she would have acted differently back in business context young old thinking smarterwhatever year that was. We view sexual assault <as well as many things culturally> differently now versus then <thankfully I may add>.

But that is a guess.

What I do know is that it is only hearsay that she did anything to the women. She stood by her husband as her husband lied to her. She stopped standing by her husband <speaking out against allegations against her husband> after he told her the truth. That’s kind of what wives do.

They are the last ones to know, the last ones to believe and the last ones left out there feeling & looking stupid. And that is why trying to tie her to her husband’s infidelity is a losing strategy. Women know that.

 

And to suggest she is an “enabler”? geez. That suggests she was the Madam for Bill’s whorehouse. On so many levels, mostly by simply viewing Hillary through a brainiac thought leader lens, that seems incredibly unlikely.

 

The biggest problem for Trump continues to be actually his biggest most effective strategy.

False equivalence.

 

As he did in the debate the other night he tried to diminish his sexist asshatedness by … well … comparing it to ISIS. Well, yes, he looks good in that equivalence.

 

Next.

 

What he does is to suggest that “well, he did it too” as an equivalence. That may work in 2nd grade but in the adult world individuals are responsible for their actions.

Period.

 

 

The last thing he, and his rabid surrogates, are masters at is ‘isolating an incident’ to create equivalence. He treats each asshat incident as a solitary event and finds an equivalence to diminish its importance <or heinousness>.

And you know what? If it were just one incident most of us would sit back and go “okay, you really aren’t an asshat … you just showed a moment of poor judgement.” But if you unbundle his isolation techniques and rebundle everything that he does, and has done, he shows an overall pattern of … well … being a heinous self-serving asshole bully who believes he deserves anything he wants … and if he doesn’t get it becomes a petulant rich kid focused on some revenge.

 

<the latter does not reflect anything I want in a president>

 

Bill was a good president who was an adulterer. He also seems like he was a public servant to, and of, the citizens of America <and not sexist>. Oh. And he married a headstrong independent smart woman.

 

Trump was an adulterer. A creep with regard to women overall. Sexist. And , in general, the worst type of soulless capitalist you can imagine.

 

Hillary will be a good president who was not an adulterer, did not divorce her husband despite his flaws, has shown no signs of being anything but an ambitious public servant woman … and married an incredibly smart articulate flawed man.

 

All flawed.

 

But not all flaws are equal.

 

Anyway.

 

As Michelle Obama just said in a fabulous speech yesterday … “Enough is enough.”

 

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“We live in the real world, with real problems that need real solutions.

We need someone with pragmatic approaches that include patience and compassion. That is Hillary Clinton.”

 

Idaho Statesman, the state’s most widely circulated newspaper, criticized Trump as insufficiently reliable on conservative issues, or unreliable, period.

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A presidential candidate can’t say anything, and I truly mean ‘anything’, if its creepy <because no adult wants their son or daughter to be confused in thinking serial-obama-michelle-not-politics-as-usual-1of it as “wow, the guy who is running our country can say it … and think it … so why the fuck can’t I ??!!??”>.

That’s why a presidential debate is … uhm … well … there is no age limit to view it because they are supposed to represent what is the best of us <not the worst>. That’s why words matter.

 

This horrible Donald Trump event is much bigger than a political event. This is a cultural “education level event.”

Someone on twitter called this election ‘the Sweet Meteor of Death’ but I disagree.

 

Our first black president changed America. Anyone would be silly to not think that.

Our first female president will also change America. Anyone would be silly to not think that.

 

And the change occurs in some horrible public ways.

 

But not all change is equal.

 

Obama ran against decent human beings who competed based on ideas and hopes … not racism.

Clinton, a woman, is faced with a non-decent individual who is competing not on ideas … and certainly not positivism or hope … but instead is plucking every misogynist and xenophobic and sexist string anyone anywhere could play.

 

I read somewhere … we are witnessing what Obama’s 2008 campaign would have been like if Obama had been running against a George Wallace.

 

In this case we are witnessing the Mad Men masculinity campaign against the woman of the future.

 

This will define who and what we are as people.

 

I listened to Michelle Obama in New Hampshire on 10/13 <and I am truly speak the truthhonored Michelle Obama is our First Lady>.

 

“Trump’s comments about women have shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.”

“This was a powerful individual speaking openly about sexually predatory behavior.”

 

“This is certainly beyond the basic standards of human decency.”

 

    This is not normal, this is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful, it is intolerable, and it doesn’t matter what party you belong to… No woman deserves to be treated this way – none of us deserves this kind of abuse.

 

“If Trump is elected we’re telling our sons it’s ok to humiliate women.” 

 

Me.

 

I do not like how Trump conducts his businesses competitively or organizationally … and I do not like how he conducts himself personally.

I do not believe this is who we are as decent people nor do I believe he represents who we are as a country.

And … paraphrasing our FLOTUS … I will not let anyone tell us differently.

Enlightened Conflict