Clayton, Project Manager, for a general contractor in Woodland, WA., told Session 5 of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“I was a seasoned field engineer when I was asked by the superintendent of a water treatment plant in Goodyear, AZ., to check the subgrade prior to the installation of rebar for a concrete pour. Within hours I thoroughly checked the grade and carefully marked the areas where the rebar was too high with bright orange paint. When I finished checking and marking the rebar I informed the Superintendent about what I had found and how I had marked with bright orange paint the rebar that needed to be lowered prior to the pour. The next morning I walked by the area to inspect progress and saw the bottom mat of rebar had already been installed. Great progress! Upon further inspection I saw that the high grade rebar marked in orange paint were untouched. I couldn’t believe it. The grade was too high! Dah! A few minutes later in the morning crew meeting the superintendent blamed me in front of the entire crew for the error and the resulting rework, costs and delay. It was all my fault according to him. In a rage I immediately rebutted the superintendent in front of the crew to set the record straight. Boy was I mad!”
There is nothing as cowardly as blaming others for the mistakes we make. Clayton’s Superintendent blew it; he didn’t follow through on the inspection report Clayton gave him. Instead of admitting his mistake, his failure to follow through, he falsely condemned Clayton (Leadership Principle #3: Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain). Naturally, Clayton did what most of us would do, he defended himself. Clayton told me he would handle it differently now. When you blow it, show it. It takes courage to show it when you blow it (Leadership Principle #11: When You Blow It, Show It). As we mature we learn how to stand up and speak out for ourselves without losing our tempers.
Over the past thirty years I have listened to over 4,000 “what made me MAD” talks and have developed a list of over twenty things that make us mad. One of the core sources, root causes of anger is broken trust. We all want to be able to trust the important people in our lives. We want to be in relationships with these people, when trust is broken as Clayton’s boss broke the trust Clayton had given him, the trust we all naturally want to be able to place in our managers, the relationship was lost. How could Clayton be in a relationship with his boss, how could he trust him from that day forward? All managers who strive to be respected know they must be trusted. We can’t respect someone we don’t trust. What more can you do today to earn the trust and respect of your team?