Just be nice…

Bullies. Jerks. Egomaniacs.

All have been used to describe domineering bosses. Leaders who are abusive, raise their voices, and intimidate. Personally, I call them something else.


A leader who resorts to intimidation, brow-beating, threats and coercion is self-admitting the inability to successfully lead. I call it “business card leadership.” The sole source of this leader’s authority comes form a business card that says “you must obey me.”

Remove the business card, and these unsuccessful leaders couldn’t get a wolf to follow them while carrying raw meat.

Here’s a suggestion: “Be nice.”

For movie fans, remember the movie “Roadhouse” with Patrick Swayze? He’s a “cooler” (apparently some bigwig bouncer), and in one scene is giving other bouncers the rules. His commentary goes something like this:

All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it’s absolutely necessary. And three, be nice.

He ends this conversation with the parting statement, “I want you to remember that it’s a job. It’s nothing personal.”

We could do well to internalize those three instructions above:

1. Expect the unexpected. “Stuff” happens. Remember that leading is only difficult “when it’s difficult.” When everything is running smoothly, all playing well with each other, everyone working at full competency, leading is easy. When something breaks down — and it will — it takes some skill.

2. Take it outside. Reprimand in private. Coach in private. never get emotional in a crowd. When you force defensiveness, career-altering emotions come into play. If you yell with others around, it’s apparent to others you are incapable of leading effectively. is that what you want?

3. Be nice. That’s right, be nice. At the end of the day, if someone simply refuses to be coached, comply with suggestions, etc., you can always fall back on “because I said so.” Don’t lead with that. Be nice. Calm voice. Phrase your demands as a question; reasonable (read :”keepers”) employees don’t really think a task question from their boss actually has a “no” potential response. It’s just courtesy. be nice.

And finally, remember this isn’t your life… it’s a job. It’s not a calling (for most of us), it’s employment. A way to make a living. A way to pay for the things we do when we AREN’T working. Think of it that way, and remember when you lose control, “your leadership is showing,’ and it’s not the best example to set.

…and be nice.




Kevin Berchelmann

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