Last week I came across another unattributed quote that I really identified with; I know, it’s becoming a “thing” with me it seems! But it irks me more than a tad that folks don’t take the time to credit the source (and not just on quotes, but don’t get me started!). So I did a little searching and found the source:
“A word of encouragement after failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Willis Reed
Having been many roles in many organizations during my lifetime I’ve seen how very true Mr. Reed’s statement is: the last thing a person (young or old, rookie or veteran) needs after a bad outcome is a vicious lambasting, loud verbal beat-down, sarcastic commentary, snide remarks, and I could go on – and on – but I think the point is clear. In my experience, these things are, or seem to be, the default method of treating a “dropped ball” (yeah, that was a weak attempt at a pun there).
Having been on both sides of the leadership-fence in many different areas, I can tell you those methods just don’t work; spewing that type of poison on a person after they are likely already embarrassed, pushing them toward humiliated, does not motivate them to be better. And whoever teaches (or has taught) that it does work are an ignorant fraud of a leader at best in my opinion.
We humans have a basic need for encouragement and acceptance; we also have this born-in trait to mess up at times (or oftentimes) making us imperfect beings. If you deny this you are fooling only yourself; no matter how “strong” you think you are, you have these needs and deficiencies.
My Papaw told me many things that have helped me tremendously in life; I’ve mentioned that before. Often his advice, unbeknownst to me at the time, was Scriptural paraphrasing, like the time he told me, “Son, if you will always put yourself in the other fellow’s shoes when you make a decision and then trear him how you’d want to be treated, you’ll never go wrong.” I’ve always tried to live this way, following Papaw’s paraphrase of The Golden Rule. And you know what? He was right! I’ve done pretty well, not mistake-free mind you, in all of my endeavors and have always earned the respect and loyalty of those around/under me.
Just think for a moment; how much better would our lives, families, friends, communities, indeed, world be if we would all treat each other how we’d want to be treated, no matter what the situation, rather than (as I’ve seen, still see, it) stepping on top of the other guy to get what we want?