That’s just person x

Ever hear something similar to this statement: “That’s just Sarah. That’s just how she is.”? For example, I had a “request” to only deal with complaints every 5th one as “person x” was so important to the company and that was “just how she was”.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard this about different people. Yet, I still get fired up every time. Let’s break this down to the messages it really sends:

    • You should “just” excuse/ignore/accept that person’s behavior.
    • Some people get special privileges/rights to not respect our culture/charters/organization/people.
    • You should already know that this issue is considered not a big deal.
    • As a leader, I don’t want to deal (or know how to deal) with this issue.
    • As a leader, I don’t believe that person can grow.
    • As a leader, I am excusing/ignoring/accepting that person over you and/or the team.

Seriously, leaders don’t say this for their non-performers. The only people that get this “pass” are people that have value. However, it’s extremely short-sighted to prioritize the value of one over the value of the crowd. That one impacts many others directly and the organization’s culture.

Now, I’m not saying immediately fire that person. I’m saying give them the same respect you are hopefully giving everyone else and expect them to collaborate and grow too. And if they won’t and you still want to keep them, isolate them.  As a leader, you can’t afford to be sending the above messages.

How can you help expose the damage this sentiment can create?

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