When Leading and Managing, Don’t be Like Hatfields & McCoys

The History Channel just aired a mini-series called Hatfields & McCoys; did you happen to catch it?

This lengthy and notorious family feud was a way of life for those involved — it was all they knew. One of the lines in the movie from a McCoy gal was, “From a little girl all I knew was revenge against the Hatfields — I was taught to grow up and kill Hatfields.

While I was watching the movie, I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone questioned why they continued to fight and why no one stepped up and said, “this is crazy — howza ’bout we stop murdering each other and be pals?”

Modeling bad workforce behavior

These family members were modeling this behavior without question, and it immediately brought me back to when I was coaching Sam, a smart and dedicated manager who cared about supporting and developing his team. It was challenging for me because Sam’s manager, unfortunately, was an office screamer. Yep, the one who forces people to work in daily fear or quickly resign when another gig comes their way.

I had an uphill battle with Sam because of his exposure to the screamer along with his pressure of deadlines. I found myself continually defending why collaborating, inspiring, encouraging and empowering his team would result in overwhelmingly positive results for him, his team and the company. Good leaders promote loyalty and engaged employees who will work their tails off for their manager. They really will — I’ve seen it.

Just because that’s the way it’s always been done, and just because it may be the only way you know, doesn’t mean it’s the best way and doesn’t mean you need to follow it.

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Don’t be a Hatfield or a McCoy. When you question what doesn’t feel right you can end the feud and lead by a positive example — one that others will emulate in the best way!

Just like ugly gossip and bad attitudes can spread like poison in a company, so does the good stuff spread as well. But it can take a little longer for that to happen because it requires more effort — it may even require having the courage to step up and question the behavior of others.

This was originally published on Kimberly Roden’s Unconventional HR blog.

Kimberly Roden is the founder of Unconventional HR. An HR pro turned consultant, she has 25 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR and business leader in a variety of industries. Her hands-on and innovative approach allows her to create and deliver HR solutions to meet business challenges and needs by managing human capital, talent acquisition and technology. Connect with her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Kimberly_Roden , or at kim@unconventionalhr.com .