Not too long ago I told my team that they needed to rise. I believe some managers would prefer to avoid the tough conversations with their teams.

That’s a mistake.

You’re not helping anyone, including your staff, by denying or sugarcoating truths. Leaders understand they work with adults and they have faith that those who work for them can rise to the opportunity presented when things are less than optimal.

If you come and visit my fundraising company in Florida, you’re going to find a cool environment to work. I’m always looking for management and any team member to tell me what they need to do the job. There’s a reason I do this; it minimizes excuses and helps empower team members.

On the day I sent out an internal instant message telling my company team members, I found dirty dishes in our kitchen and trash left on the table for someone else, in this case, me to pick up. That’s just a matter of common courtesy, and it’s not acceptable.

I also realized that some people on the team had been trying to game the system. For us, that meant they were using our postage machine as their personal post office and were seeking ways to minimize their time on the work clock.

If you’re the manager or leader of any organization, you know those are challenges. Perhaps you’ve faced similar situations yourself.

  • We pay a few thousand dollars each month on postage, and although some people think the cost of a postage stamp is cheap, every time someone rings $0.49 for personal usage, it’s coming out of the budget of the company. I’m one of those business people who looks at every cent or revenue and expenditures each day. If I spend hundreds of dollars in my business to pay for someone’s personal postage, that’s money I won’t be spending for my team to help them create the environment they want to work in every day.
  • The exchange for someone’s paycheck are time and performance. That’s the way it’s been for generations, and it’s no different now. If you work on our team, we expect everyone to give it everything they’ve got, and then some, during the time they’re working for us.
  • Anything less than excellence is bad for business and even company morale because others notice slackers and it’s no way to advance in a career. Leaders and managers are always on the look-out for the top team players. Advancement, perks, special privileges come with being one of the best.

Why would anyone want to be less than the best?

In business, any business, I don’t support or condone entitlement. No one is entitled or should feel entitled to anything. That’s not how businesses––or life––work. For our company, we have an awesome work environment, which includes a cool office set-up, lots of pizza lunches, incentives and bonuses, music and other perks.

But, at the end of the day, everyone gets paid to do their jobs well. We issue a check in exchange for work done for the company. This exchange is something that team members who want to get ahead and keep their positions in any company or nonprofit,  should always remember. There’s a “fee” paid in money for the work completed.

Let’s face it, none of us wants to have these sorts of conversations with members of our team. They’re not fun or easy. But, it’s important to face up to the reality that sometimes leaders and managers have to have the tough conversations for the greater good.

The reality is that once you allow people to slack or believe they can game the system, morale begins to plummet and your organization starts to suffer death by a thousand cuts. It’s not fair for the hard-workers on your team. It’s not fair for your customers or the people you serve. And it’s not fair for anyone who’s ever wanted a chance or opportunity to get ahead and wishes they could take a spot within your group.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact” (Free Digital Download)

© 2017 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.