Editor’s Note: The following remarks were made regarding the “Even the Best Employees Make Mistakes” Commentary article, by Jen Anesi, published July 28 in The NEWS.

Avoiding the Cold Shoulder

I read the commentary offered up by Jen Anesi in the July 28th edition of The NEWS, describing the handling of mistakes made by employees. She asserts that how a leader handles these situations defines what kind of leader he or she is. I would agree with this assertion. I also agree with several other points she makes: reprimand in private, a mistake is different than malice with forethought, and proper training should be reviewed so people have the tools to perform their functions correctly.

After those portions of the article, our leadership styles and recommendations take a very divergent turn. She suggests that through the use of emotional manipulation, giving them the cold shoulder for some time before allowing them back in your good graces, is a way to emphasize that, while not mad at them, they have not regained your trust yet. This tactic is taking leadership to the childish level. A cold-shoulder attitude can never be held in private and the team will see the leader’s behavior as gaming and belittling. Better to let an employee go who has violated the trust factor sufficient enough for this leadership style approach, rather than having them walk around with a very evident scarlet letter around their neck. Respect is lost for a leader who resorts to immature, emotional tactics and that brings the whole team down to that level; never a good thing.

There are many ways leaders can take a mistake made by an employee and use it to turn around the employee by building them up rather than ostracizing them in the process. Leaders are always on stage, being watched and listened to in all aspects of their work. Lead as you want to be led. Leave the drama of emotional manipulation out of the team and the team will rise up and work for the better, with more confidence, less fear, more pride, and fewer mistakes.

Ellis Guiles
Vice President
TAG Mechanical Systems Inc.
Syracuse, N.Y.

Publication date: 1/21/2013

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