The Mean Thing That’s Best

The Mean Thing That’s Best

June 6, 2015 , ,
Photo by Allison Morrow - KING TV

Photo by Allison Morrow – KING TV

Cinder the bear has been released into the wild of Washington after being healed from severe burns suffered in a forest fire. You gotta love the people who nursed the cub back to health and helped her mature from a 34-pound cub into a 124-pound adult ready to be released into the wild. But it was the mean thing those people did for Cinder that ensured her survival.

At first it looked like Cinder wouldn’t survive. Then, as she improved her caregivers feared she would never be able to live outside captivity. But after months of treatment, bandages, medication and feeding, the tenacity of the caregivers won the day. She was ready to be released.

How do you think that went? A hug? A pat on the head? A final chunk of beef and a kisses blown while Cinder reluctantly saunters off? Not!

The CBS Morning Show report set it up: “It’s important the last day with humans be a bad one.”

With that two ferocious dogs barked and snarled at the caged bear. Guns were fired into the air as the Cinder bolted from her saviors. Clearly it was better she not be tempted to hang with her human friends – that would be a bad thing.

A mix of emotions

Reverberating in that final scene was a mix of emotions: satisfaction of a job well done; relief that Cinder made it back to the forest. You’d expect those feelings but with such an investment of time, resources and I have to believe love, wouldn’t you want some payback? An animal thank you. A nuzzle from her (muzzled) nose or a look of appreciation. Nope. It couldn’t happen that way. For this effort to be successful the mean thing had to be done: dogs barking and guns fired while the wild animal darts into the trees.

The sacrifice that comes with management

In treating and training people we sometimes must sacrifice the credit for the long-term benefit of the person and the organization. Sometimes the mean thing is necessary for total rehabilitation. Sometimes it comes in the form of a “no” or a firing or an intervention. Rarely is such tough-love appreciated in the moment. Sometimes it comes later … but often it never comes.

Are you ready for management? If so be prepared for those times when the mean thing – the right thing – will be necessary and when the deed is done well know that the only satisfaction will come when you look in the mirror.

Tim Sharp

Director of Curriculum (Training Services On Demand)

Training Services On Demand (TSOD) is a training service that enhances employee productivity and employee relationships for large companies and government agencies. We provide thought-stimulating workshops on topics such as team building, stress management, time management, and more. It is the country’s most respected onsite training and employee development contractor.

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