respect in business – respect in life – amen

Long ago a man worked in a specialised industry. He would turn up for work on time, try his best and make every effort to let the rest of work force know his position as deputy manager. But also he was jealous of his boss. He ensured he spent time each week drinking down the pub with the team, where he would speak of his resentment of the boss going to luxurious over seas destinations with his family several times a year. Of how his wife wore designer clothes and his grandchildren had lavish birthday parties. He felt angry that if it was not for his role as deputy manager the boss could not afford to do this.

One day he asked for more money from the boss and the boss said no. He said no because his accountant had warned him that the company was running at a loss. The loss was down to add on pensions, company cars and providing Saturday morning over time – even when there was not enough work. Yet the boss refused to forfeit any of his staff benefits. Instead working out better ways to increase revenue.

So he said to his deputy manager:-

I have loaned you the money to pay a deposit on a house. I have found work for you and the rest of the team even when there are no orders. I rented a studio with my wife for eight years to set up this business. I don’t sleep at night worrying how I will continue to provide work for you all, even when I do not get orders. I have made you a share holder so you benefit from the success of this business. I took risks. I too would be homeless tomorrow if this company fails. I realise it is about teamwork. I work the same hours with you and am still here sometimes until midnight when you all leave at 5pm. I arrive before you each morning to organise my desk. When I am not dealing with staff problems I am building a rapport with customers. When I travel abroad with my family I approach new business.

I do not feel guilty to afford good things as before any of this I ensure my team all have their wages – tea, coffee and refreshments at work. Staff meals and bonus incentives – not to mention your free cars and petrol. I welcome your family into my home. I often hear you in the staff room telling others what you really think about me and I am sorry you feel I do not give you enough. But you take all I have.

This is my risk – my business and whilst I understand teamwork makes a company succeed there are multi billion pound establishments on this planet where the highest do not even know the names of those working under them. You too one day could be as big as this. You too could have such wealth but first you have to take your own risks or work under mine. Nothing is stopping you apart from your small mind. But I am thankful for all you do here. Together we work to make great things. I cannot think of one thing that more that I could give to you at this point because this will mean there is no business at all.

Whilst I am here with this business and you work for me I will ensure you get paid each month – that you keep up with your mortgage payments. That you have food in your cupboards and I will support your executive decisions even if they are wrong. I will be your shield. But I will not honour you above me because without me there would be nothing.

You have booked your holiday for next year. I sit on the fence with mine. If we do well I will travel in luxury with my family. If we do not I will work harder. But you know you will travel. There is no stability in being a leader. I have paid for further education for you to expand your knowledge. I have made allowances for your absence even when I know you are out shopping and not sick in bed. I am aware of the disruption you cause within the team when your resentment of me takes over. But I value you. You are good at your job and your work ensures profit to continue what we do together. I take the rough with the smooth even though I don’t sleep at night.

I would like to see a day when I can move from this business to start another. To expand – to grow my work. This is brave considering 40% of all that I do leaves the business to go to the government to give security to those who do nothing all day. Maybe if you can think more highly of me you could be the manager of such a second business. But for this you would have to release your jealousy towards me. You would have to respect each business needs one leader who can delegate to his team as a network of workers. Workers consisting of leaders – those who realise there has to be a valid system of operation in place.

If you can find another boss who gives what I do then you must go and work for them – you are not irreplaceable – I get letters each day from others looking for your job. Or you could respect me for all that I sacrifice for you. Mainly my time. I don’t see my kids before they go to bed. I am rarely home for tea. I am what I earn at my own risk.

So the deputy manager decided to set up his own business and he stole drawings of industrial plans from the boss. He took two members of his staff with him. The boss found out that whilst they were doing over time they’d been taking copies of plans – set up a list of customers from the business data base. Using the company phone and stock to do this. It was theft and industrial espionage. They could have gone to prison for this but the boss did not report it.

A little over a year later their stolen business collapsed. It collapsed because the customers did not have faith in their new business as they stole it all from someone else. A man they respected and had built a knowledge with over many years – even though his machinery was more expensive – they trusted the service that went with it.  Eventually, the deputy manager wrote to the boss and asked for his job back. The boss said yes. He said yes because that is what a good leader will do. They will merit a person by what they can achieve and not by what they are capable of doing. He knew the man had learned by his mistakes. Now the worker – also a shareholder is a very wealthy person. He stayed working for his boss until he retired and as he left on his final day at work he thanked him. He went to his grave and placed down his first set of car keys and it was then that he said, ‘thank you’.

Tiffany Belle Harper.


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