I’m sure the very people who most need to read this are the very ones who won’t, but nevertheless I have to try. If I manage to influence just one person to change for even one hour, then I’ve done something great.
Supervisors wield more power than they realize. Often employees spend more time with them than they do their own loved ones, so they impact people’s lives a great deal. They can make one’s working life a living hell or a pleasure. They can cause one to go home feeling exhausted and emotionally drained or empowered and confident and ready to take life on.
I genuinely believe that the average person wants to do a good job. How hard is it to give them positive feedback when they do so? It only takes a minute and it costs not a dime. If you allow your staff to shine, you will shine by association. If, on the other hand, you are so busy jealously guarding your turf that you expend all your energy keeping people down, you will wind up looking like the a**hole that you are. Everybody loses.
This problem isn’t a new one. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, was written in 1843. He described Mr. Fezziwig, Scrooge’s old boss, as follows, “He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count them up: what then. The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”
Sadly, the Fezziwigs of this world seem to be the exception, not the rule. And that’s so unnecessary. Making people’s lives a living hell is also counterproductive and cruel. So take a minute to think about how people feel after an encounter with you, if not for their sakes, then for your own. After all, as Jacob Marley learned the hard way, we wear the chains we forge in life. In other words, karma’s a b**ch.
Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley in Scrooge.