I’ll make you pay for this!

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There are some natural human reactions we have every day that as a leader we have to be careful about. Today’s post falls under the category of awareness. No lecture intended; I just want to get the wheels of awareness turning.

“I’ll make you pay for this!”

Have you ever said this out loud or in your mind about someone you were dealing with? Perhaps when someone ruined your plans because of their own self-interest. Someone who took advantage of you? Someone who made you look bad when it wasn’t necessary?

These things happen to us all the time. Not everyone out there is a nice person after all.

Some people can easily let this roll off their back like the proverbial duck.

As you can tell from my last name, my heritage is Italian. One half is Sicilian and the other half is Calabrese. You know about the natural need to seek vengeance for Sicilians if you saw The Godfather movies. Believe it or not people from Calabria have a worse reputation in this regard.

It’s in my blood. Couple that with a weird memory where I can recall what you said to me, exactly, so I know when someone is lying about their commitments, it’s a wonder I don’t have a figurative hit list. Don’t worry, I don’t.

Since even prime-time popular shows have more and more become soap operas (shows like Scandal and Revenge actually show us how to take revenge on others) our real life can contain quite a bit of drama. Not a good thing. I bet you know of people that actually operate like the actors on TV in real life.

Let’s talk about our role as leaders and the implications.

The question is how do we deal with someone, specifically from our own organization, when they do something we disagree with?

It’s easy to be biased. Everything in our experience contributes. When someone does something we like, our interactions are positive and we try to help them in any way we can. We do this in subtle ways but in effect we’re playing favorites. This person gets a bit of extra attention. We listen to their ideas with a positive ear.

How about when someone does something that we disagree with? There is a negative feeling associated with them. The slight could have been small. But we’re short with them. We don’t tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. We don’t extend that hand like we would with the person who provides the positive experience.

For more explicit attacks on us we may consciously pay the person back for their misdeed. Retaliation. That’s when we aren’t leading well.

The 60/40 approach requires that we cross boundary lines in organizations and trust is a valuable commodity.

Retaliation continues the cycle of distrust. STOP!

I’m not saying forgive and forget. Rather, remember and be cautious. I’m suggesting that as leaders we maintain control and avoid escalation.

How about with a subordinate? They disappoint us all the time. Mistakes, examples of not meeting their potential. How do we deal with this? Does your approach create growth for both of you or not?

That’s really the guiding principle. Does your interaction with every person you encounter allow for growth for both of you?

To do this week: Review all your interactions. Holding any grudges? Do something to get rid of those.

Let me know how it’s going. Click the “comments” box below to participate in an on-going discussion via LinkedIn.

Jim Canterucci

I don't know everything. But I want to. The focus of our firm, Transition Management Advisors, is to develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

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On June 13, 2017
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