Your Water Privileges Will Be Revoked: A Lesson in Bad Leadership

Your Water Privileges Will Be Revoked: A Lesson in Bad Leadership
From Recruiter - March 3, 2017

Years ago, during a particularly hot and humid summer, I was concerned about people in the factory. So I told the factory supervisor to see to it that plenty of bottled water was on hand.

That seemed to be working welluntil someone told me their water privileges had been suspended.

Now, first of all, I wouldnt consider providing drinking water to employees in a hot factory a privilege. I would consider it an obligation.

When I heard about the suspension, I was aghast. And when I asked him why, he told me the supervisor would suspend anyones water privileges if they didnt drink the whole bottle. This is not the stupidest thing I have ever heard of, but it is certainly in the top 10of all time.

Maybe this supervisor thought he could save money if people used a whole bottle instead of several partial bottles. Maybe he was the type who hated waste. Maybe he was a control freak. Maybe he was just a horrible leader in fact, not a leader at all, but a command and control nut job.

I remember asking the supervisorwhat his rationale was and challenging him on his privilege views. And then I dismissed him. You cant coach a person who thinks water for employees is a privilege. Anyone who feels that way about the people they lead is not a leader at all.

But lets get to the fundamental questions: If he feels that way about water bottles, in what other ways does he treat employees badly? If he feels that way about water bottles, how do employees feel about him? And if they feel that way about him, how productive will they be?

There is an old saying that when a union-free company gets a union, they get the kind of union they deserve. I would revise that a bit to say that leaders who treat employees badly get the kind of employees they deserve. Employees who dont care. Employees who only do the bare minimum.

If you have these kinds of employees, dont blame them. Look to the leadership. Did the leadership create the kind of employees they deserve? Great leaders create great employees. Poor leaders create poor employees.


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