Reading about Scott Rudin this week just turned my stomach upside down. There were too many “screamers” when I was working at Macy’s outside of college. I would hear the same thing from friends in other industries. People would be abusive, they would scream, they would enjoy making you feel like shit. Why?
I told a founder a few months ago. It doesn’t cost you anything to be kind. You catch more flies with honey. Maybe it’s just fear of failure. You can’t micromanage a growing business. You can’t expect someone to work like you. Everyone works in different ways, and as long as they can do it, that’s all that matters.
I’ve always been a fan of giving people very long ropes. Expect them to do the right thing. Being positive and praising works well. When there’s a problem, it’s about being transparent and honest and not being angry. It doesn’t get you anywhere. We have seen several start-up founders publicly called out for cruel behavior. Maybe we’ll see more with Scott Rudin, and frankly the time has come.
I’ve heard countless stories over the years of bad management, but the ones that make me angry are the ones where someone in upper management, especially a founder, bullies the people who work for them. It creates an impractical culture. The reality is, this is not how you build a successful business. That’s how you build a miserable place. Goals are achieved when everyone is a champion.
It’s not easy for someone to be bullied or put in a position of being sexually harassed, but it’s just as important that each of us stand up when something is wrong. To get up and say, don’t talk to me like that. Would you like someone to talk to you like this? Or say don’t hit me. Don’t say these things. I realize how scared this is, but nobody needs that shit.
I remember saying something years ago to a founder who got all the staff to come in when the city was shut down from places far away. It was absurd. I asked her how she would feel if the tables were turned over. The bottom line is that we should all treat people with the respect they deserve. If you treat people well, the results will be far better.
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