Workplace Wisdom

Not Fair but Necessary

Isn’t it amazing how sometimes you have to be nice and kind to awful people who don’t deserve it?

Take collections, for example, either commercial or non-profit. People make commitments to pay — but some don’t pay. For a long time before you get to the point of threat, you use honey, hoping the flies will stick, the promises will be kept, the cash will trickle in — even if you have to bend over backwards and give extra thanks, extra courtesy, or worse — extra value, just to collect what is rightfully yours.

Same thing comes up when you have to deal with difficult customers, or resolve conflicts between recalcitrant employees. Just getting the issues on the table is not enough to clear them up. The fair and logical facts may not be sufficiently persuasive.

On the personal side, consider those relatives who like a little drama along with their relationships. Their constant level of neediness and disruption can be tamped down slightly through special demonstrations of sweetness and extra respect. Difficult to do, but can be required so as not to spoil the family dinner.

We’ve all dealt with these people — unless we’re the ones who don’t pay our bills or who demand corporate largess or who create scenes while the turkey is being carved.

It’s unfortunate, and feels unfair, but you may need to use kid glove technique on folks who really deserve boxing glove treatment. And the kid glove can deliver a different kind of one-two punch.

Kindness and patience might just encourage some better behavior, or at least, open the door to an authentic discussion of more desirable forms of interaction. At the very least, some of what goes around comes around. Haven’t you ever wanted kid glove treatment yourself?

Onward and upward,

LK

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