Awhile back I told the story about my last Dilbert Cube job, and how I would get into fights with my boss, “Nick”.
Originally I liked Nick a lot. He and I would have these hilarious conversations on the phone. Eventually he became my boss.
Then one time I did something that really hacked Nick off (long story, I’ll tell it some other time) and in hindsight, I realize that Nick swore revenge on me then. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was true.
One day a week or two later, I’m at home on a Sunday afternoon and Nick calls me on the phone. Nick has been looking at my sales forecast report and he is unhappy with it. He feels it’s in terrible shape, it includes deals that are really dead, it omits other things, it’s incomplete.
Slowly as the conversation develops, he starts grinding me down, twisting the screws tight on me, slowly and methodically bashing my head in. This guy really knows how to wring me out like a dish rag.
I endure this for 45 minutes or an hour and at the end of the phone call, I say, Nick, thanks for bringing this stuff to my attention, I appreciate the discipline that it represents.
I was totally sincere. Like, I really thought I needed Nick to be some sort of sparring partner for me, that he was straightening me out; that he knew far more about business than I did; that I needed Nick to pound some slag off of me. I believed that this was good for me. I was eating my broccoli. Taking my vitamins. Nick was prepping me for the real world. So I thought.
But as the next couple of days went by I realized I myself was seething with rage. Nick had just called me on a Sunday afternoon and bashed my head in about, of all things, my sales forecast reports. Stupid Excel spreadsheets that were mostly a waste of time anyway. He was filled with contempt and he was trying to pound it into me.
No wonder I felt miserable afterwards. He was trying to slice my fingers off one joint at a time. He had a belly full of rage and he was transferring it to me.
Bottom line, Nick was an abusive person and I was just now beginning to realize it.
Now the interesting thing is, we had another guy Jim. Jim was one of my very best buddies and we worked there together. Jim had Nick figured out in about a week.
It took everyone else a year, but Jim had him nailed in a matter of days. Jim recognized him for what he was and Jim declared outright war on Nick. Once Jim brought this to my attention, I could see the pattern very clearly.
After that I was no longer under Nick’s spell.
Eventually, Nick was expunged from the company. Good riddance.
Many entrepreneurs are so concerned with delivering value to their customers and clients that when a disagreement erupts, they take the blame for everything. If a customer’s not happy, their first impulse is to say something like, Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll take 20% off the price or something like that. Or he/she spends a ton of time and money fixing some niggling little problem in hopes of making the customer happy.
Mr. or Ms. Entrepreneur doesn’t realize, this isn’t even about the transaction, it’s about someone else, somewhere else, and Mr. Customer is just taking it out on you.
In the process what Mr. Entrepreneur has just managed to do is give all the time and money for the summer vacation back to the client.
So, guess who doesn’t go on vacation? That’s right, the hard working guy and his wife and family take the hit. He deserved the vacation, they deserved the vacation, but the demanding client conspired with the entrepreneur’s people-pleaser personality to rob him of what he deserved.
If you’re a people pleaser, then that’s a good thing.
But don’t let guilt and manipulation turn your people-pleasing skills into a weapon that can be used against you.
Don’t be afraid to fire toxic customers, toxic employees, or any other kind of toxic people from your life.
Either we get rid of this person or we all drown.
Yes, it takes courage… exactly the kind of courage that builds strong businesses and brands. Take courage and do what you need to do – now. And celebrate a happy Friday.
Strength and Honor,
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