Leaders are People Builders
Mark True recently wrote about his experience at Wendy’s. I wonder if they’re putting something strange in the deep fat fryer, because I had my own interesting experience last night.
My wife and I walked into Wendy’s and ordered our meal. My wife ordered a side of chili with her combo. The pleasant young man filled the chili cup and brought it to our tray on the counter. Just then the manager came over and grabbed the chili cup. "What are you doing?" she yelled. "You gave them too much! Look at this line! Look at it! Do you see it? You’re only supposed to fill it to this line!" The manager then walked back to the chili pot, poured out the contents of the cup and then rescooped one ladle full of chili into the cup. "Here! See the line? Don’t ever fill it past that line!" she barked handing him the cup. The humiliated young man sheepishly walked back and placed the cup back on the tray.
As a leader, I believe you are called to build people up. Your job is to assist in building better people, better customer servants and future leaders. A couple of leadership lessons screamed out at me from the observing what I observed:
- Don’t criticize your team members in front of others. Her tirade brought an uncomfortable and negative atmosphere to all the workers behind the counter and all the customers in the restaurant. It was destructive to everyone around. It would have been appropriate to pull the young man aside and speak to him privately.
- Don’t beat people down, build them up. She was not teaching or training – she was crushing her employee’s spirit, making him feel devalued, and destroying any chance to motivate him to want to do a good job.
- Consider the customer. She was so intent on criticizing her employee that she had no concept of the message she had just sent to her customers. The message we heard was "Wendy’s is so cheap that we will pull your chili cup off the tray and take some out because we’re only give you ONE ladle full of chili!" It was not surprising that my wife barely touched the chili.
Are you building up the people around you, or tearing them down?