The Reasons A Good Leader Should Have In His/Her “Toolkit”
Do you normally give advice or complain about people when they mess up?
One day, I had to pick up my daughter from her college to take her to her doctor. I left my work. I was already running late and there was way too much traffic. While we were on our way to her doctor, my work cell phone rang. The phone was not connected to the Bluetooth of my car. So, I ignored it. I didn't recognize the number. And, I wasn't expecting any call from anyone anyway.
Then, the phone rang again. I could not pick up the call while driving in heavy traffic plus I was already having an anxiety of running late. I took a quick look at the display of my phone. It seemed like the number was from my work. A few minutes later, my personal phone rang. My wife was calling me. I took the call as the phone was connected to the Bluetooth handsfree kit of my car. My wife sounded really worried and panicked. She said to me that seems like there is some type of emergency at my work and they are trying to reach me. I said, “What?”. I was really surprised! I thought, “What could have happened at work that they would call me at my home?” Next thing I know, someone is calling on my personal phone. I hurriedly told my wife to hang up and let me take the call. I pick up the call. It was a receptionist of one of the buildings at my work!
Now, it better be important, I said to myself.
The receptionist said that a lady is looking for me because I found her badge. She wants to get her badge back. I said I already sent an email to her that I had dropped off her badge. It's with the receptionist of another building. In that email, I had mentioned which building. This building was on my way during my walk when I had found her badge. I am thinking, “Why would she go to the receptionist of a different building?”. Apparently, she didn't read my email carefully enough.
Now, I was really upset. I thought, “You gotta be kidding me”. You just created panic for both me and my wife. And, there was no reason at all!
We finally reached the doctor's office. I dropped my daughter off. I sat in my car thinking about what just had happened. I couldn't believe it.
Advice Rather Than Complain
I was so upset that I wanted to do something about it. The receptionist found my home phone number and then called my wife. It wasn't even an emergency. At least nothing to do with me.
At first, I thought I would call him and ask why he called my home. And, tell him that he shouldn't have done that. Also, I should possibly let his manager know. Then, I thought that would not be what a good leader would or should do. So, I decided to give him some advice rather than complain to him and/or to his manager. He seemed to not know any better.
I called him and asked him to think about what had happened. If I found her badge and delivered it to one of the receptionists and sent her an email, I am at work. So, I am obviously not at home. Just because I didn’t pick up my phone shouldn’t prompt anyone to start chasing me by calling my home, get my personal phone number and then call me. Besides, the badge wasn’t with me anymore and calling me wouldn’t help!
I asked the receptionist how long he had been working at this company. He said less than a year. By now, he realized what he ended up doing. He said that the lady showed up and acted as if it was so urgent that she must get a hold of me right away. And, he got wrapped up in that moment. He apologized to me. I accepted his apology. I advised him that, in future, try to understand the situation before start chasing an employee. I advised him not to call people’s home unless instructed by employee's manager.
3 Reasons Why Advice Is Better Than Complain
- Ownership: By giving advice, I demonstrated to the receptionist that I took the ownership. I helped him understand the situation. Gave him a few ideas about how to build his confidence in dealing with employees. He should not get intimidated. I did not complain to him or to his manager letting them figure it out on their own.
- Care: By giving advice, I expressed to the receptionist that I cared. I took the time in discussing the situation with him so that he could do better next time.
- Support: By giving advice, I showed the receptionist that I support him in his role. I did not focus on his performance and didn't complain to his manager.
The above three reasons are part of 5 elements of FOCUS Leadership system I developed. To get the complete guide, click here.
How would you handle such a situation? What would you have done – given advice or complained? Comment below. Appreciate your time and interest in reading this post!