Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 89 To our clients and friends August 22, 2006
Running on Empty
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Leadership Principle #3: Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain

Dan, a project superintendent for large general contractor in eastern Washington, told Session 2B of the Leadership Development LAB:

“It was the summer of 1993, two years after a local co-op purchased my father’s fuel business. Earlier in the year they had promoted me from driver/salesman to petroleum manager. My duties included inventory management, budgeting, expenses, scheduling deliveries, etc. I had just received word that we were on the brink of a major diesel fuel shortage. I quickly had all of our drivers focus on filing every customer’s diesel tanks and filling our own storage tanks to the top. Sure enough, a short time later, diesel ran out at all of the west coast terminals. The forecast was expected to be out for two full weeks. With all of our customers full and approximately 30 to 40 thousand gallons in storage, I felt we could make it through without any of our customers suffering.

The following day I received a call from my boss informing me he had sold all of my diesel to a large farmer that he was trying to get fertilizer business from. I reluctantly delivered the fuel and began searching for more. Calls were made to all major suppliers with no luck. At this point, I remembered one

other supplier from a company called Tosco that told me when my father sold out that if I ever needed any favors to give him a call. I quickly located his number and called. I got his voice mail. I explained my situation and asked him to call me as soon as possible if he could help me locate any diesel. Approximately fifteen minutes later I received a call and the caller asked if I had found any diesel yet. Recognizing his voice, I said, ‘No, Jim (Tosco rep), and it’s not even my fault. You see, I was prepared, but my dumb #@#* stupid @#&*@ boss sold all of my reserves and now I need help.’ He started by asking me if I knew who I was talking to and I said ‘Yes, Jim with Tosco.’ He said, ‘No, this is your dumb #@#* stupid @#&*@ boss.’ Fortunately the story had a happy ending, but boy did I have egg on my face!

The lesson I learned from this experience is not to talk in a critical, condemning way about others or blame them for problems behind their backs. The action I call you to take is when problems occur, work with others in a cooperative way to find win-win solutions. The benefit you will gain is the respect of management and coworkers as you work together as a winning team.”


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