Posted in advice

The Cost of Cruelty

“You get more flies with honey than vinegar.”  You have probably heard that expression before, which begs the questions….Why the hell are you trying to attract flies?  Most people try to repel them, this is almost as difficult to understand as that one about cake.  But everyone understands this is more about how you get what you may want out of people.  That being nasty or bitter will only repel others versus being nice and sweet will attract people.

But it is just so easy to be mean, it is fun to tell people off when they screw you over.  And if you never have a need for those people again, there are no consequences to telling them off.  But if you do need that person again, pissing them off is no way to get help from them later.  It is generally good to remember your leverage and theirs, along with thinking about who has more.

I generally think about the bill collector, you owe them money, they want your money, but you actually have to decide to give it to them, you have the leverage.  If your credit sucked to begin with, you have very little to lose if you don’t pay them back, and depending on the amount, they may spend more on lawyers in court than your debt may be worth.  So, if the bill collector is being a dick, you can have a lot of fun taking your daily frustrations out on them, they become an easy punching bag, especially if they are being jackasses.

If you’re a bill collector, maybe being nice will get you a lot further than being a dick.  Over and over again we see examples where rewards yield a better outcome than punishments.  That is not to say there isn’t a place for punishment, but having both a stick and a carrot, is better than just having one or the other. 

In the employee and employer relationship, being nice to your staff will get them to actually want to do a good job, instead of just enough to get by.  If they work out of fear, they will always be second guessing themselves, and more likely than not, make more mistakes than if they were just relaxed.  I don’t think most people wake up in the morning trying to ruin someone else’s day, and we all need a good dose of perspective. 

If we are all just a little patient with each other, listen to each other, and remember the end goal, maybe we can actually have a conversation and see the other side.  And then maybe we will get that bill paid or that deliverable completed perfectly.

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