The Sweet Taste of Revenge

There is a terrific game that most of us play that is based on revenge.

One person does us wrong by accidentally setting us up, or showing up our failings in front of our peers or blaming us for them feeling bad. And then we get them back with similar or worse behaviour.

Someone told me about an office they worked in where the staff found the management to be particularly disinterested and unsupportive; so when the photocopier ran out of paper every day by mid afternoon, no-one was prepared to refill it and they would all sit at their desks doing nothing until the end of the day because they couldn’t print off their work schedules etc.

They say revenge is sweet; but it is also really expensive.

Think of the cost to a company whose staff deliberately go slow or work to rule just to get back someone in middle management. What opportunities do companies miss out on when staff won’t tell anyone their great ideas because they don’t feel valued?

How much does it cost in legal fees if a revenge situation gets out of hand and one of the parties goes out on worker’s compensation?

How do you stop revenge? How do you stop human nature?

You deal with inappropriate behaviour the minute you see it. You model best practice and you speak directly to people who are unhappy. You are curious. You are empathetic. You ask what’s happening here; you say “you seem to be behaving in a manner that is not in your or the companies’ best interest. Help me understand what the problem is.”  You don’t jump to assumptions and you give your staff your full attention whilst you work out what is going on. And then you take action. You don’t ignore the problem. You deal with it immediately.

The sweet taste of revenge in business can be very sour. Don’t let it happen to you.

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