The square peg and the workplace

Here’s a recent find, the “You’re the Boss” blog in the New York Times (H/T Phil Stott at CNBC).  What drew me in was this tough-minded post on happy employees by Jay Goltz.  “A tough-minded post on happy employees”, you say?  Yes indeed, for as Goltz notes:

Have you ever seen a company or department paralyzed by someone who is unhappy and wants to take hostages? It is remarkable how much damage one person can do. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you watch “The Caine Mutiny.” Basically, one guy takes apart the ship. He was unhappy. It only takes one.

Basically, Goltz says you have to be prepared to fire the square peg who doesn’t fit, doesn’t want to fit, or wants everyone else to change to fit him.

I learned this lesson early on back in my McD’s days.  Let me tell you, when you’re the opening or closing manager you don’t want to run short-staffed.  So it is very tempting to let that employee who “no showed” yesterday to clock in now that he’s there for your shift.  It sure will make your shift easier.

But what about your colleague who was abandoned?  How will she feel?  Or how about the crew that suited up and showed up?  All will feel betrayed, foolish, angry, and you’ll lose their respect.

And they will be anything but happy.

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