Sometimes, the best lessons in life are learned by viewing the example of others. And sometimes, the example provided by others – from a refusal to admit your mistakes to focusing too heavily on office politics to is a great example of what not to do. Unfortunately, a staffing agency in Stockholm, Sweden has provided an atrocious example of how not to manage relationships internal or external to your company.
An unnamed Swedish staffing firm and a union were involved in an ongoing dispute. Both were locked in heated discussions over very serious allegations against the firm –invalid layoffs, salary disputes, and worker pay and holiday leave cuts. To his great surprise, the union leader was attacked and severely harmed by six gang members, forced at knifepoint to call the staffing company and retract all union demands, and the attackers also demanded €60,000 from the leader himself. The most outrageous part of the story lies in the fact that Swedish newspapers refused to publish the name of the staffing agency, even though the leader of the criminal gang that carried out the mafia-style attack is biologically related to the owner of the agency!
As you can see, this outrageous example shows you several lessons of how not to behave when managing a staffing agency or any type of company. Here are some I noticed:
- If you don’t like what someone else is doing, don’t resort to childish and violent behavior. With the exception of the moron in charge of the staffing agency and a handful of other nincompoops (we all have at least one in our social circles), most people have sense enough to not react in such extreme ways when someone else is doing something they don’t like. If one of your employees is doing something you don’t like, don’t immediately react with anger. Sit down and have a conversation about what is happening, reach a resolution, and move on – like adults.
- Idiotic and immature behavior always has consequences. Sure, using violence, this guy got the union representative to retract his demands, but it was hardly a victory. Such use of physical force isn’t the only way to bully people in order to get what you want. If you emotionally or psychologically bully employees at your workplace, they will only respect you to your face – and some may not even do that.
Guess what? The minute employees who feel bullied find another job, they’re going somewhere else. You know how costly it is to recruit and train new employees – that’s more costly than hiring someone and holding on to them a while. The lowlife running this staffing agency received the short-term result he wanted, but now he risks going to prison for several years and losing his business.
- Admit where you were wrong and be willing to respectfully disagree. The jerk who ran this company committed overtly wrong acts in the past, but then he never went to right them. Instead, he tried to get everything his way, until he went way too far.
You have sense enough not to hire thugs to intimidate or bully people. But, you might be like many others who get caught up in emotional battles and aren’t willing to give in just a little bit. If you are in a contentious agency battle, admit where you made mistakes in the past, allow the other party to have its own views, and come to a reasonable compromise that makes everyone happy.
By handling tough situations in an upstanding, rather than selfish way, you and everyone impacted by your staffing agency you will win long-term. The most important thing is to learn and grow as best you can with each experience.