Poor form

09/29/2011

I have a P.O. Box at the UPS Store near my apartment here in NYC, so I’m there pretty frequently. The service is generally good, and being able to walk downstairs (just outside by building) to pick up my mail is nice.

I went there yesterday and saw a slip in my box indicating that I had a package. Also worthy of note is that a man carrying himself like the manager (who I had never seen before) was in the store.

He took the slip from me with a look of smug indifference and handed it to another employee. As the manager and employee moved out of sight into the area where packages are logged, I could hear the manager starting to berate the employee for an issue that was obviously being discussed before I entered the store.

The manager was literally doing everything wrong in providing correction: confrontational chastisement, speaking loudly, saying that it (the resolution for the issue) would have come out of the employee’s paycheck if he (the illustrious manager) hadn’t caught it, etc.

The specifics of the employee gaffe are immaterial (amounting to less than $100 if you’re interested), but the manager saw fit to humiliate the poor guy for the whole store to hear.

It just reminded me that there’s an art to leadership and management, and I was bothered to the point of almost saying something as it was taking place. It’s hard to imagine someone getting it so wrong, and it makes me wish that How to Win Friends & Influence People was required reading for anyone in a leadership position.