The real world has a lot of animosity in it. Personally, politically, and unfortunately, even in churches. Business owners will definitely have their fair share.
That is the only thing fair, in a world where God doesn’t promise us fair.
As business owners, we by default accept the role of leader. And as the leader, I feel we are always the one who has to take the high road. It is part of our responsibility. Yes, even if it isn’t fair.
Business Situations Can Be Unfair
The situations are unlimited, but to illustrate a few:
Revenues are down, profits are wiped out, but employees expect their bonus. Don’t they understand that you are worried about even making payroll? No. Not only do they not understand, they think you don’t care or understand their side. They talk to each other about it, work themselves up, and corner you in a group meeting or a hallway conversation.
Do you react, argue, and bully them back?
Your client calls and has an urgent project. He needs an immediate turnaround. You jumpstart your team to start the job even without all of the information required. There are deliverables you need from the client. They are a bottleneck. It takes them a week past the deadline. Once they get you what you need for their job, they tell you they need the project turned around in a day. Your team has dispersed on another client’s work.
Do you tell them no, explain it is their fault, and risk losing the client and not getting paid for the work that has already been done?
No, you take the high road.
Your employee is having a bad day. You don’t know what has been going on with them lately. You have asked, but their lips are sealed. Their attitude is starting to affect the others around them. You sit down to inquire and discuss what is going on. They become defensive, blame you, and walk out?
Do you argue after them, fire them, or talk to other employees about them?
No, you take the high road.
In business, these scenarios are commonplace. It is difficult to always be the one to be the better person. To not react. To not meet anger and frustration with the same.
But in almost every situation, more of the same, keeps the cycle going.
The Promise of a Better Outcome
I can’t promise that if you respond positively to others’ frustration, selfishness, and lack of fairness, that every situation will turn out well. But, I can promise that more of them will. Many more.
If you can calm the mob in the hallway by asking them to all walk to your office and set up individual meetings to discuss their confidential compensation, they will not feel like you are blowing them off. Actually, you will eliminate the mob bravado, and open the stage for productive conversations, with individual team members, on how they can help move revenues in the right direction.
Your late client knows they caused the holdup. They are pushing you because they are now really behind the eight ball. If you can jump through hoops, make it all happen, while not pointing out the “plank in their eye”, you may have earned a client for life. Will they all of the sudden become the perfect, compliant, on-time client? Don’t count on it. But you can put processes in place to improve things.
If your employee was just having a bad day, or even a bad week, they will sincerely appreciate the grace of you letting it go. If it is an ongoing problem that they will not seek help for, then things may not work out with that employee. You may have to terminate them. But, you will have given them a chance. You will have responded professionally and empathetically. And you will have treated them with the respect every person deserves.
You will have taken the high road.
The High Road Leads to a Better View
The thing about the high road we have to always remember….the high road, the road of empathy, respect, professionalism, proactivity, teamwork, grace, and all of the fruits of the spirit is the road paved by Jesus. It is the road the Holy Spirit leads us down.
We don’t lose our way on the high road. We can see the big picture from here. We relinquish the pettiness, the power struggles, the embarrassment, and many times the negative consequences. We gain a better view.
We gain a God view.