I have always believed in the proposition that you should treat people as you would want them to treat you.   I try to live up to that belief in both my personal and business life.

In my personal life this will manifest itself in many ways.  I will give my friends the benefit of the doubt and will take the position that they deserve my loyalty unless and until they show me otherwise.  I also will not judge my friends based on what other people say about them.  I will try to base my opinion about my friends on how they have treated me and not on how they may have behaved with others.  There are always two sides to every story and I don’t want to condemn someone, particularly, a friend after only hearing one side of that story.

In business, I try to adopt the same principles; however, I have found that the dynamics of the workplace make this more difficult.  As I have mentioned, when I first came to USFSB I did not have a lot of experience with managing and supervising a group of employees.   There was a significant amount of bickering and jockeying for position that may be considered standard office politics but which was totally foreign and, somewhat, disturbing to me.  This was compounded by the fact that as the employer you can be cordial to your employees but you, also, need to be a little distant and detached from them and the office politics so that you do not appear to be taking sides.  You need to be above the fray.

Even though, by and large, I was not friends with my employees, I still tried to treat them as I would have wanted to be treated by my employer.  The biggest disappointment, for me, in running a business and interacting with my employees was the fact that I was often wrong in my belief that my good deeds would be rewarded.   I believed if I treated my employees fairly, gave them financial rewards, and helped them as much as possible that I would, in turn, be rewarded with their loyalty, extra effort, and genuine concern for the success of the business.   I have found over the years that this is not always the case.       

On more than one occasion, when an employee has resigned, they seem to totally disregard all of the good things that had been done for them.  Even when they give reasonable notice, which is not always the case, they call in sick with impunity, they don’t follow through with promised training, they leave their unfinished work in disarray, and they generally act as if you do not deserve any loyalty.   When this happens, Annemarie and I can only shake our heads and say to ourselves will we ever learn?   On these occasions, I am reminded of the fact that, at least, in the workplace sometimes it seems that no good deed goes unpunished.

On Wednesday, Joe makes an observation about the breakdown of respect for authority in our society in “Respect Is Hard To Come By These Days”.