“R” is for Respond – The Ultimate Measure of Leadership (Part 6 of 6)

“There are costs and risks to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”    John F. Kennedy

LEADER:
  1. Lives Values
  2. Empowers Others
  3. Asks for feedback, ideas, comments
  4. Directs the Course
  5. Effectively Communicates
  6. Responds

I was watching an episode of Undercover Boss a few nights ago where an executive of a chain restaurant went undercover to learn the inner-workings of the actual restaurants themselves.  I was literally appalled when they were filming a young man who was the most obnoxious person I have ever see or heard when it came to customer service.  Having worked in the restaurant biz  in my college years for my family (who owned a fine dining establishment),  I could hardly believe how this kid was talking smack about his customers.  It was painful to watch and to  think for a moment that there was some truth to the immaturity and nastiness that was being portrayed.

The woman who was working undercover portrayed true leadership – she sent the kid home, met with his manager and made sure the kid was fired immediately.  Now I am not someone who revels in seeing others fired and as someone who has been in management positions for years,  I have had to make the very tough decision to terminate someone’s employment on occasion.  It is not an easy task to make a decision that will most likely be a life-changing event in someone else’s life and could seriously mess with someone’s livelihood.  However,  a leader needs to be able to respond (act) quickly when a situation could negatively affect other people or the organization as a whole.

I am hopeful that when this young man is away from the camera lights, beyond his one little moment of “fame”, he learns from this episode of his life and that his boss’s decision to fire him ends up to be one of the greatest gifts ever received.

When have you had to make a tough decision as a leader because the costs and risks of taking action were far less than being comfortable and not responding?

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