Simple, yet practical truths, golden rules, and ways of enforcing and instilling good behavior.
A) Don’t spoil people too much, to the point where you’re in fact robbing them of their worthiness. Their potential to appreciate what they have achieved in life through hard work. The things that they have achieved themselves gives them pride and joy. For anything worth having has a price tag, every person knows fully well, that we value those things most, that we had to sacrifice time, love, and energy for. We are also brought up to know what we are entitled to and what not. Only “things” that one had to work hard for, by having sacrificed are truly worth having, remember this always. It is within all human’s nature to “want” things they don’t really need. Human’s will always be testing each other’s good nature to see how many of these “things” that you have and that they “want”, you will sacrifice on their behalf because of your relationship with them. Learn to say No when you feel that you are being exploited and mean it. You will never be doing anyone a favour, by just giving away your hard earned things that they “want” without putting in any sacrifice themselves. Realise that anything given without work will become meaningless to them anyway, once they have filled themselves with it, they will hate you. The truth is that there are no short cuts in life. Food and clothes as well as medicine, can be given. Houses, cars and electricity should be earned. Life in itself is about making transactions and learning from it, followed by patience and perseverance, we need to teach the poor this aspect, so that they may come to power in principled living. They need to understand the required effort of each need and want, its price tag, and without currency, we will never be able to afford it. Effort becomes currency, without effort there will never be a win-win situation, only win-lose or lose-win, and lose-lose. This in itself is not conducive to growth and development of any people, or nation in any way. We only promote poverty, and dependency, by throwing things at the poor and needy that makes us feel better, without teaching them the gift of principles. You will be doing yourself and them a great disservice by indulging in the practice of free hand-outs. This practice could also be interpreted as discrimination. Because we take away their pride, and reduce them to nothing – just beggars and thieves. This is a universal principle, of nothing for nothing. “They say that No good deed goes unpunished”, this is where this saying comes from…
B) Never use force in any fashion or form as a means to get things done. It only teaches your subordinates that muscle is a means to get leverage over people. This then becomes a means, and eventually all that counts, and it is fast, takes little effort and patience. People who grow up within an environment with much coercion and persuasion via violent means, tend to become reckless, and they too learn how to use it, and will shift their focus towards ascertaining such perceived power, and more of it, as a means to get their things done. People in general tend to respond more willingly to being led and taught by someone that they consider being knowledgeable, and respect, than what they do to people using forms of coercion power.
C) On the other side of this coin, all humans instinctively crave for stability and safety in any environment that they find themselves in. Safety in terms of their jobs being secure and security in terms of being cared for and looked after. This aspect is only to be found where true order prevails and as a means of keeping order one needs to be firm. There needs to be rules and discipline, and it needs to be applied fairly at all times. We all inherently prefer firmness, it builds confidence, (not referring to arrogance or autocratic means) but rather an open honest straight to the point type of interrelationship based on truth, so that everyone knows where he or she stand.
D) Allow for mistakes to be made and don’t see them as problems either, but as opportunities for personal growth and leadership. Understand that the road to competence is long and dangerous. If you have never been lost until you have found your way again, then you will never know the value of knowing how to find direction, and you will never find your way without getting lost. Therefore, don’t make people feel that by making mistakes they are in actual fact committing sins. They, as you have, need to find their own way and what better way of building competence than emerging from incompetence victoriously. However, if we do not see the relevance of this aspect, we will be creating blind followers with no confidence in themselves, or their leaders, they will all feel that they are no good and start walking around with canes.
E) The next trait is consistence in terms of your perception, judgment and resulting actions. It is very hard to conform to this aspect of consistency, we are all-human and change things. If and where things change to fast, people get lost as well, or they feel out of place, and uncomfortable. Change, is forever influencing our conceptualised moral and ethical stance on matters arising. Nevertheless, be as consistent as possible by any measure, and where you have to move from one premise to the next, explain yourself accordingly. Perceived inconsistency confuses people terribly, they become very disillusioned because of this and they then resort to start looking for the cause. This is a sure-fire way to create division in the ranks and elicit a lot of emotional criticism.
F) Very important, don’t ever commit to making a promise based on any other promises made to you. Or on information passed on to you, that you have no means of verifying or controlling. Promises should only be made on things that are well within your sphere of control. Don’t make this fatal managerial mistake ever. A promise is a contract to deliver. If you don’t, then it reflects badly on you, no matter what the excuses may be, or who or what is responsible, people lose faith and trust if they don’t get what they were promised. Your word is your honour. In fact so much so that where promises are broken more than not, it totally degrade your trustworthiness and creates suspicion if you cannot deliver on promises made. You might even come across as being incompetent and run the risk of being branded a liar, or as being devious.
G) Never treat other people unlike the way you would like to be treated yourself, or expect to be treated in the first instance. Respect cost nothing. So too does good manners. The old saying of, do not do unto other as you would have done unto yourself. Don’t make people feel small and insignificant in your presence, if you are, then you are in fact making fire under your house, – lots of enemies with the people you live or work with. No one is your enemy until we make him or her our enemy. This type of behaviour will usually also spawn “Big Shot” behaviour, where everyone will become an expert unto themselves, to protect themselves from possible or even perceived future belittlement.
H) Don’t do things for people that they can do for themselves, you will become the pack mule and ultimately everyone will eventually feel comfortable with dumping their responsibilities in your lap, or should that read on your back? This will create inner unwanted conflict.
I) Do away with an “open door policy’ when it comes to bitching and moaning, it is one of the key ingredients to starting up office gossiping and creating division and suspicion. In line with this, never allow bad habits to attract attention, and then it takes months to sort out. The hot stove approach must be followed where bad, or incorrect behaviour is reported, rectify any bad habit immediately. Gossiping and email abuse especially, and any other form of instigation. Rather implement a formal grievance procedure policy where every “accused” is rightfully afforded the opportunity to defend him or herself, by first having reduced every accusation to paper before it is entertained.
J) Endeavour, never to correct people in front of colleges, they might take it personally; they will take much more notice of your concerns in private. However – there are certain instance where it is called for…
K) In the heat of conflict, try to determine what the question is that requires a resolution. By trying to reason with anyone in the heat of battle is futile, for some reason people in general create a mental block. Their hearing tends to be less than what it should be and so to their co-operation and response. It’s all right to take any remedial action required to solve the question, but let’s not talk about it until later.
L) We generally tackle “wrong behaviour” by asking the person concerned to explain his or her behaviour, like with our children. With adults, this approach backfires; it stands to reason that if he or she knew it was wrong they would not have resorted to such behaviour in the first place, or would they? If adults start behaving like children then it is because we treat them as such. Rather move your focus from trying to understand the motive or frustration behind the irrational behaviour towards trying to understand the frustration that caused such behaviour. In this way, you will effectively find the answer and solve the behaviour problem amicably as well.
M) Universally all people are endowed with the seeds of righteousness, moreover don’t always resort to preaching as a means of trying to correct behaviour, you will be surprised to learn that everyone knows the difference between right and wrong. Rather apply discipline, by pointing out clearly the consequences of crossing the line and the inevitable results that will follow if the behaviour does not change.
N) They say that honesty is a virtue, but don’t over tax honesty too much, strangely enough it has the opposite effect, people are easily frightened into telling lies. They do this in an effort to try to protect or defend their image. Image is an emotional matter and so is lying, so it’s okay to lie if it will keep the image intact.
O) People tend to become deaf towards others that nag, so stop nagging and begging. Realise that you have a responsibility to fulfil, firstly towards your employer and then yourself, to be fair but also firm is very expectable and even required, this requires some form of nose to nose interaction at times, you will be amazed to see how junior supervisors are able to do this.
P) The only way to protect your organisation from disastrous consequences is to get your staff to learn from experience before they become leaders. This in itself is a required life cycle in the scheme of becoming an effective leader. The more you tighten the noose the more you suffocate the enterprising spirit of man; therefore you will have to do the complete opposite and let go. In the initial stages this will require a lot of 360° thinking and explaining, by letting go you will have to be very specific about what you want and by explaining the consequences, responsibility and accountability as well as the desired objectives clearly, before you attempt to let go. The more you do, the better the habit starts forming, until it becomes a ritual or trait.
Q) The breakfast of champions is good continuous feedback. Without feedback, we have no measure of our progress or success. Once again you cannot manage that, which you cannot measure. The measure of quality positive feedback will and should become your benchmark of achievement and the openness of the relationship, all other systems and measures to gauge performance by should become subordinate to this.
R) Never forget the fundamental concept of actions specifically aimed at achieving greater understanding, to stimulate our reasoning, and converse our enthusiasm into encouragement and better responses. This in itself requires a lot more listening and less over-analysing. Moving away from biasness and a lot of talking, a total seamless ability to exercise self-control.
S) Learning is conceptualised through experimentation and analysing of things as they exist naturally and the reasoning for their existence, therefore questioning the reasoning of anything’s existence to ascertain logic and insight should be encouraged as it is a very natural process of thinking. We ask questions to ascertain truth.
T) The question of spending quality time. Quality time spent weighs far heavier in the corporate environment, especially on maintaining and forming of crucial individual relationships, by spending too little quality we create distance. The principle of out of sight out of mind, out of touch, creates a sense of out of reach. We should spend time with individuals within our organisation and outside and we should make those interactions count. Quality time is always measured in the fact; in how we spend our time that counts and not the amount of time we spend in doing so that really amounts to something worthy of mentioning.
U) Do not concentrate on rewarding small achievements, people may learn to enjoy poor or average performance because of it, be wary your focal point for benchmarking performance and rewarding it accordingly. Our ability to motivate and grow will be determined by our ability to recognise and appreciate the true ability to perform consistently and effectively. We should not award burst of achievement rather shift our focus on extraordinary continued performance and reward that.
V) People who ask honest questions should be endured, if you don’t they might resort to seek their required answers elsewhere.
W) As a leader and or manager do not ever think that it is beneath your dignity to apologise, any honest apology makes for an immediate substantial deposit of trust into that persons personal bank account. Furthermore, acknowledge that you do not know everything and that every interaction, is still considered to be a learning experience by yourself daily. Be more human, be open to criticism and respond with optimism. Leaders need to be seen to be human to be effective, even icons make mistakes. That way you will not be judged on a pedestal and be criticised in an unforgiving manner. This releases undue pressure.
X) Don’t let people’s fears arouse their anxiety, or yours and then they will become more anxious and bewildered, show courage and wisdom in such instances. This will instil trust and camaraderie.
Y) Treat you colleagues the way you treat your family and friends, with kindness, compassion, truth, trust and empathy and they will become your closest allies.
Z) Remember we all learn more from role models and stewardships than what we do from critics and books.
Credit to Johan Campbell
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