Last week I walked into one of my suppliers to complain about what I considered to be a continuous deteriorating services. I was actually going to discuss how we can be served better.

I was ushered to the general manager’s office and as soon as I stated my case, he started complaining about some of his staff and how they are letting him down.

After a lengthy complaint he called the sales lady in charge of our account and what went on afterwards left me more devastated than before.

The general manager gave her a ‘lecture’ in front of me on how she has been serving customers badly, how she will not be tolerated, how she is earning a lot and she is not even grateful to customers who bring in revenue to pay her. Finally, she was reminded that there are many jobless people who can do better than her at a lower cost.

I was forced to intervene when she started crying. I felt guilt and wished I never raised the issue. After all I had others choices, only that I thought talking to the general manager would have given me a chance to suggest how we can get better deals.

What the general manager did actually was kill the self-esteem of the lady, evoke fear and hatred rather than effectively correct his employee. This is to the detriment of both the employee and the business.

Cases of employers quarreling and using foul language on employees are not uncommon.

No one is perfect. Some employee may have some shortcomings and weaknesses that can better be addressed by empowering them, engaging them positively rather than through aggression and threats. Remember the old idiom; you can catch more flies with honey than a vinegar.

If there is a book I feel every manager should read is Dale Carnegies classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

One important principle that resonates throughout the book is how to be kind and thoughtful when dealing with other peoples’ feelings. If you want to win and influence others, whether employees, family members or friends, treat them with respect and appreciation. Don’t be quick to criticise, condemn and complain as this will only bring hatred, resentment and hostility and still fail to achieve the intended.

Positive criticism is done softly with understanding and respect to others in a manner that makes the other person to appreciate your view point without coercion.

This article was first published in the Business Daily on July 31, 2017.

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