attitude

His Mistake Cost The Company $250K in Repairs. His Boss’s Response Was Gold.

My old boss, the CEO of a small hospital, told me a story from back when he was a lab technician (for simplicity, let’s call him Dan).

Dan had forgotten to check some sort of mechanism on a piece of equipment he used, it malfunctioned and broke the equipment which ended up having around a $250,000 repair bill.

The next day Dan’s boss called him in to talk about it, and he was sure he was going to be fired. His boss asked him why he didn’t do a proper check, made sure he understood what happened and sent him back to work. Dan asked him, “Am I not getting fired? I was almost sure that’s what this was about.”

His boss said, “No way, I just spend $250,000 teaching you a lesson you’ll never forget. Why would I fire you now?”

It seems silly, but that attitude always resonated with me. Don’t make professional decisions based on emotional responses. Always know what your goal is when dealing with someone, and what exact problem you are trying to solve. Everyone makes mistakes, and yelling at them just makes them resent you and become defensive. Being calm and understanding will make people look up to you.

Only people who don’t work make no mistakes.

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