Compassion is a better tactic than toughness

Emma Seppala writing for HBR about 5 years ago, gave us something to think about—compassion is a better tactic than toughness when dealing with employee mess-ups. It’s worth revisiting the concept.

I once witnessed a screen shop owner make an expletive-laced general announcement that the printing staff had in the previous two weeks made so many costly mistakes that if he sent them home and mailed them their cheques every two weeks he’d be better off. It was meant to be tough but it was unpleasant and awkward—an absolute morale killer.

Seppala’s point is that compassion yield’s better results. It’s a fairly detailed article but it essentially boils down to three key points:

  1. Take a moment to compose yourself when an employee makes a mistake.
  2. Put yourself in the employee’s shoes.
  3. Forgive.

It’s worth thinking about and worth a read.