Andalucia Steve

...living the dream

Working with people works best if you can forgive their mistakes

After my father died, I remember speaking to his brother George about my father's character.

He shared with me the following anecdote.

George and Ted, my father were only a few years apart but Ted was the elder and ran his own business. George was helping out in the early days. They did plumbing and such in the early 1920's in the South of London, and George was very much the apprentice to my father.

He said one day they had to drill and unusually sized hole, which required a tool that my father didn't own, so they had to rent one from a tool shop, which in those days was quite an investment.

As the work progressed, my father had to go out somewhere and before he went he took George to one side and said, look if you run out of work while I'm away, don't try to use the new tool in case you break it.

Well Ted went away and time went on and George thought to himself, 'I can do that - if I do a good job, I'll impress Ted and he will think a lot of me'. So he went ahead and used the tool - of course he broke it! He was so worried he thought Ted would kill him! Minutes turned into hours while George roasted in shame, until my father returned.

"Ted" he whimpered,

"You've broken the drill haven't you?"

"Yes", he admitted,

My father shrugged and said, "OK then, will try another way"

That was my dad. What was the point of chewing people out? Solving the problem is always the most important thing and even those who have let you down can still make an important contribution to the solution - or they will if  you let them! Of course afterwards my Dad never let George forget the time he broke the expensive drill but that is how you help people to improve!

Posted by Steve Gould Monday, August 01, 2016 8:19:00 PM Categories: Nugget Staff Wisdom

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