When I was a youngin’…a FEW years ago…I worked as a room service attendant in a “fancy” hotel near my home (ironically, I’m writing this article in a hotel room).
A very important guest arrived who was going through court proceedings and was there for multiple months…so the person wasn’t in a great frame of mind to begin with.
After a few days of room service and the odd mistake here and there a complaint was put in to management from this individual.
My supervisor at the time took us aside and raked us over the coals for doing a bad job. She then proceeded to tell us that she was taking over the order filling process and that we were to help her.
The next order that came in was huge. Apparently, we were feeding the entire legal team during legal proceedings preparation.
My supervisor took over as promised. She organized the delivery and we headed to the elevator to carry out our orders.
As we headed up, someone noticed that we were missing an item or two. She flew into a rage and blamed us for the mistake!
I was a naïve kid, but even then, I knew she was totally in the wrong, so I didn’t take to heart what she was saying. In fact, I chuckled in my head because she sounded like a fool.
I totally lost respect for her, as did my co-workers. Not long after, I switched departments.
Taking credit for team effort or giving hell for individual mistakes (especially your own) are definite no-no’s for leaders.
One of the basic rules of leadership is that the leader “goes down with the ship” (which is what makes hiring such an important process – you gotta find people you can trust).
Often, organizational hierarchy is illustrated with a pyramid, the peak being at the top. I saw a more accurate illustration a few years ago with the peak at the bottom.
The philosophy behind it was that leaders lead by holding others up…rather than tearing them down. A simple, yet powerful illustration.
To finish my room service story, I returned to the kitchen, retrieved the missing items, and delivered them to the room. I apologized to the client about the mistake and they assured me that it was not a big deal.
If you’re a leader who has seen this behavior in your subordinates, or an employee who has dealt with it first hand, I have all sorts of tips that can be delivered right to your inbox.
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