I often talk about how I was the worst manager who ever lived for the first four years of my full-time business career. I yelled at someone with a full throated scream at least once a day. It was never my fault when something went wrong, it was always someone else’s fault.

This worked OK until we opened our second branch operation. Then, I was no longer in a place where I could intimidate people every day. From this awful experience, both for my employees and me I learned 8 lessons that are really important and that’s what today’s video is all about.


You know, in my live presentations, I often talk about how I was the worst manager who ever lived. And that was absolutely true for the first four years of my full-time business career. I yelled at somebody with a full throated scream at least once a day. It was never my fault when something went wrong. It was always someone else’s fault. So, that way, I could blame others and justify my behavior because the people that worked with me were such idiots. Now, if you think that was true as I did, it isn’t true.

The fact is, this worked okay until we opened our second branch. Then, I was no longer in the place where I could intimidate people every day. From this awful behavior, both for my employees and me, I learned eight lessons about the consequences of behaving badly, and that’s what today’s video is all about.

Hi, I’m Josh Patrick, the founder of Stage 2 Planning Partners and The Sustainable Business. I’m also the one who’s responsible for putting together our Cracking the Cash Flow Code Program, and I’m the author of Sustainable: A Fable About Creating a Personally and Economically Sustainable Business.

So let’s start off with the obvious.

Yelling never gets you anywhere with anyone.

Losing your temper, no matter how satisfying it might be in the moment, is not gonna get you a result you want. In fact, it’s gonna get you the absolute opposite result.

You know, when you’re a jerk, your employees are just waiting to get you back.

They’re not gonna tell you that because, if you do, you’ll fire them. But the fact is, they say, I’m stuck here, there’s nothing I can do about it, my boss is a jerk, and why should I go the extra mile for him because he’s not treating me will. You know, one of the things I learned from being a jerk and going through the whole process of changing my management style is your employees are only gonna treat your customers as well as you treat them. So, while I was screaming and being a jerk with my employees, guess what they were doing? They were not treating our customers especially well, and all that did was it got me into a loop of screaming more and thinking about more about how bad they were, and not how bad I was, and what I was doing to cause the problem.

You know, for me, it was about learning how to trust my employees.

And the fact was, because I screamed at ’em, I called them jerks, I demeaned them, I didn’t. It wasn’t trust, I didn’t respect them. In fact, I thought they were a bunch of idiots. If that’s what you think about your employees, I can promise you you’ve got a big problem in your business. Now, if you don’t, there’s lots of little ways that we go about treating our employees badly and not showing them the respect we should, and it always comes back and bites us in the end.

You know, we were in a cash business. So, by me being a jerk and me screaming and me being an incredibly bad boss, what was I doing? I was giving my employees permission to steal.

Now, how was I doing this? I wasn’t say going out and steal from me, but I was giving them a reason to justify that it was okay to steal from us because a boss is such a jerk, he doesn’t care about me, I’m not gonna care about him. And you know, that extra 25 bucks a week I’m stealing, or 30 bucks a week I’m stealing, I deserve it because he’s been such a jerk to me.

You know, it’s okay to be strict and consistent. It’s not okay to be a jerk about it.

And this is something I want you to really think about. You know, being strict and consistent means doing the same thing all the time, having the same outcome all the time. Now, when someone does do something wrong, the first thing I want you to do is I want you to take a look at the systems you have in your company, and are those systems promoting good behavior? Are those systems promoting the activities in what you want? Look at your systems first and stop blaming your people about it. You can do this in a strict and consistent manner. You don’t need to be jerky about it. Now, when something goes wrong, here’s what I want you to do.

I want you to always, and I mean always, take the blame.

You can say, “What could I have done differently “for us to get a different outcome?” Now about 90, 95% of the time, you’re gonna have a really good conversation with someone about that. And about 90 or 95% of the time, you’re gonna have to change the systems, or make a modification to a system that you have, that will promote the behavior that you want. Now, once in a while, that three to 5% of the time, it actually will be the person’s fault. You just have made a bad hiring decision, and you have a person in your company that probably shouldn’t be there. If that’s the case, and in a very nice manner, not a jerky manner but in a neutral manner, come to the conclusion with that person that they probably would be better someplace off, and ask them to leave.

Now here’s something which I think we don’t do enough in business and that is, you learn this when you’re five years old or you’re three years old, you learn to say please and thank you.

Saying, “Please, will you please do this,” and then thanking someone after it’s done, goes a long way. It just shows that you’re appreciating them as a person and not just as a cog in the machine that’s your business.

And, finally, I want you to show some genuine appreciation to your people.

When you have a chance, be very specific about catching somebody doing something good, praise them with lots of people around so others get to hear it. And, better yet, start having an annual appreciation day where quarterly you appreciate the people in public for their anniversary that they’ve been with the company.

You know, because my behavior was so bad, we had truly bad economic times in my business. It was so bad I almost ended up losing the business, and I ended up with no cash. And that’s when I learned that cash is king, and having enough cash is crucial for success or even survival. You know, and that’s where I came up with my silly little statement, is happiness is positive cash flow.

And, because of the experience that I had with having no cash, I put together a program called Cracking the Cash Flow Code. I invite you to download our infographic on the success path for creating cash flow freedom from your business. Just click on the button below and, while you’re at it, scroll down, leave us a comment. So, get the infographic, leave a comment, and I appreciate you coming and watching this video today.

This is Josh Patrick, and you’re at The Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.

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