"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Personnel thoughts

From a journal...
Now that I'm no longer chair, previous advice shows why my blood pressure is down:
  • When you have to fire someone, don’t take it personally. It is a failure, but necessary.
  • Even when firing someone you should want what is best for that person.
  • If you enjoy firing or disciplining people, there’s something wrong with you
  • Confront distrust. That may build trust.
  • It takes a long time to build trust.
  • Allow individuality.
  • Colors and appearance make a difference in how people work. Pay attention and involve people in those decisions.
  • Frontal attacks are often disastrous. Look for the side or back door to controversial issues.
  • People backed into a corner are dangerous. Offer an escape route when you have to negatively evaluate a person.
  • In many cases, it is better and cheaper to rehabilitate an employee than to fire them.
  • If the administration won’t back you, you might as well give up and quit trying.
  • Everybody has pet projects and interests. If they’re your superiors, you have to live with them. If they’re your subordinates, learn them. Use them to your advantage in building teamwork and accomplishing larger objectives.
  • In today’s litigious society, those who threaten to sue are rarely good employees.
  • Fanatics—narrow-minded people—rarely have a sense of humor and are threatened and belittled by it and opposing viewpoints.
  • The more wrinkles people have, the more stories they’ve lived. Sop them up, like bread in gravy.
  • In an airplane, million dollar houses look insignificant. In the space shuttle, borders don’t exist. Most problems come from man-made boundaries and personal castles.

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