Jun 3, 2011

When Leaders Don't Confront Difficult People

On Fridays I typically work out of a Starbucks.

I get more reading, reflecting, sermonizing done at a Starbucks than I do at the office or at home. I am not sure why that is. All I know is that's the way it is.

This morning I got to my favorite Starbucks and got settled in to work. Normally, I don't have to put my earplugs in at this particular Starbucks because it tends to be quieter. 

However, this morning there was a family in here with two little girls probably 3 and 5 years old. There are always families at these Starbucks - no big deal. 

But, this one was different. This was a big deal. These girls were a nightmare!!!

It's not their fault. It's their parents and their lack of parenting. 

There were times when the girls were literally screaming at the top of their lungs at each other and the parents. And when they weren't screaming, they were not even close to using their inside voices. 

You could tell that everyone at Starbucks was uncomfortable and annoyed with the situation. But the parents did nothing. They just let their girls behave that way with no consequences.

Excuse me!!! Both the parents and the kids need a time out and some firm loving discipline.

But I am not writing this morning to gripe about the parents. I learned a huge leadership principle this morning.

As soon as the family left, all of us breathed a sight of relief at the Starbucks. 

All of a sudden, I found myself so much happier. I could think. I could read. I could relax. 

When those girls were here, I was all grumpy and ticked off.

Here's the leadership principle: Leaders, it is our responsibility to create an environment where our folks can be at their best. 

When there is a problem individual and they are not dealt with, it brings the whole team down. When unacceptable behavior is not challenged, confronted, and dealt with the entire team loses.

As difficult as it is in dealing with difficult people, not dealing with them will have such a negative impact on the work setting that the entire team and institution will suffer for it. 

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