Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Broken Nose principle

.. beware

Fractured nose with haemorrhage.Image via Wikipedia
broken nose as punishment

Sometimes, it seems necessary to point someone out that what he did was not reallu correct. He stepped way out of line, made a bad remark or did some damage or almost did some damage. To the company or the company's reputation. Maybe because he was just plain stupid or just did not know what he was doing or causing.

A form of punishment or retribution seems to be in order here. But once that decision is made one need to establish if a simple converstation with a stern look will suffice. Or maybe some stronger method needs to be applied.

Most often when damage could potentially have been done (note that nothing has happened) managers tend to completely overreact and forget to thoroughly investigate what really happened. They usually tend break the nose of the person closest to the cookie jar.

As a figure of speech.

karate kid meets flying mom - _MG_3046.JPGImage by sean dreilinger via Flickr
It sends the wrong kind of signal

They forget everything they ever learned in management training and they start addressing the subject in full view of everyone, start shouting or plain striking away with bad reviews or firing the poor soul.

Even though all these reactions have a time and place and also have just reasons. The problem is that the manager tends to forget to think first. And to investigate before that. First get your evidence complete and then draw your conclusions. Think before you act and investigate before you think.

The defendant usually ends up with a broken nose.

Here's what wrong with this kind of reaction:

  • even though punishment might be needed for the culprit, the reaction is just over the top, there's no connection between cause and effect;
  • others will fail to understand, because they can not see the reason why you react so Big Time;
  • others will dislike your action, because it is in no direct correlation with the error made;
  • others will dislike you and stay away from you, because you seem schizofrenic at best;
  • as a result they will sympatize with the bad guy;
  • all it shows you have no respect or understanding for your people.
  • it is just over reaction, even when it is a correct reaction, reacting too quickly and too loudly will give a bad first impression
  • the event will only help to spread bad news about you and not about the bad guy: it backfires completely.
A broken nose is a bad punishment

A broken nose is not a very good way to punish someone. There are at least five reasons for that

  1. A broken nose is very painful.
  2. A broken nose will keep coming back over the years through minor or major annoyances.
  3. That way a broken nose will keep the grudge alive.
  4. Also a broken nose will make the grudge grow with years.
  5. A broken nose can cause reaction later on: Hey Manager, always look behind you!
LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 26:  O.J. Simpson, (R) a...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Better think twice before you act

before you strike out at anyone, think again and again and always, always get the story from both sides. Simply because when you do punish in any way, you'll never know their reaction.

  • you may have them silent at first, but then what?
  • they may just strike back directly in an unexpected way
  • they may know karate and you may hit yourself
  • maybe they're a Ninja or worse a lawyer or their bigger brother is one

On top of that: it's almost Christmas!

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