You may have heard that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently fired Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Apparently, his employment was terminated because of intentionally misleading the mayor and the public about his conduct. If you’re interested, you can read more of the story here.
I bring this story to your attention because someday you might have to make a difficult personnel decision or have done so in the past. How you handle these situations will test your leadership skills.
Regardless of the outcome in this case, studying this incident can prepare you to do the right thing. Your guiding light could be the line from the popular movie The Godfather, “It’s not personal, Sonny; it’s strictly business.”
Make difficult personnel decisions by respecting your organization’s culture and values.
Consider these scenarios:
- If your organization holds “respect for employees” as a value, you cannot tolerate someone on your team disrespecting an employee; you must take appropriate action. If you don’t, other incidents of disrespect will surface, causing unwanted disruption.
- If your organizational culture is all about teamwork, you cannot allow people on your team to be non-team players; you must take appropriate action. If you don’t, the team will no longer function cohesively, and the results will be your evidence.
- If your organization values honesty and integrity, you cannot allow someone on your team to lie about something to you; you must take appropriate action. If you don’t, the next lie could be a bigger, costlier one.
In my past corporate life, I was faced with each of these situations. Everyone on the team knew the circumstances, and everyone was watching me. To strengthen our culture, reinforce our values, and preserve my leadership credibility, I took the appropriate action; it wasn’t personal, it was strictly business.
With a few decades of hindsight, I can now acknowledge the correctness of these decisions, resulting in a culture and values everyone respected.
I encourage you to respect your organization’s culture and values when making a personnel decision. Don’t make it personal; make it strictly business.