Don’t Make a Bad Situation Worse

How many times have you been in a tough situation where you have had an opportunity to make it just a little bit better so that you could help to stop the slide and reverse the momentum? Or, when faced with this opportunity did you take actions that actually made the situation worse? If you watched the NFL championship game on Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants, then you know that this exact situation occurred.

The New York Giants in the fourth quarter, tied for the lead, found themselves in field goal position. They brought out their kicker to attempt the field goal, which was extra challenging due to the below zero temperatures. The field goal kicker shot a rather long kick into the wind – kicking a ball that was probably as hard as a rock because the temperature was so cold.

He missed the field goal. It was a bummer for New York fans, but what the camera picked up next was just unbearable and the camera picked it up perfectly.

As the kicker walked back to the bench, his coach attacked him by yelling at him and screaming at him. You can only imagine how bad this professional kicker felt that he missed the opportunity to win the game for his team. No one needed to rub it in and make a bad situation worse.

The worst part is that three minutes later the Giants regained possession of the ball and were once again in field goal range. So the field goal kicker came back out. Apparently terribly upset from the shake down that he had taken from his coach just three minutes earlier, and again in frigid temperatures, he kicked a rock hard ball a long distance, and missed for a second time in a row.

This was a bummer again for the New York fans – and my concern is not for the outcome of the game, but rather about the lesson of coaching and management. The coach absolutely could have contributed positively to this situation by giving the guy some encouragement and telling him something that was more uplifting. Instead, though, the coach chose to put the fear of God into this professional football player who fully understood all that was at stake with just one kick of the ball.

But it gets worse. A few minutes later, the two teams went into overtime, and shortly into the overtime period another field goal opportunity arose for the New York Giants. This time they were in sudden death which means that the team who scored the next point would instantly win the game. So the Giants called on their field goal kicker for the third time.

The downtrodden, nervous, upset, and uncomfortable professional kicker came back out for another long yardage attempt (about 47 yards). But this time, to everyone’s amazement, he nails the field goal and wins the game!

What’s the lesson? The lesson is: “don’t berate people who you are going to need five minutes from now.” If you have any need for people in the future, you shouldn’t make them feel bad about what they did. Even if you won’t need the people, you shouldn’t make them feel bad. Instead, prop them up because their level of confidence has a lot to do with their level of success. People get screwed up when you berate them. Parents do this to children all the time. Coaches do this to athletes, and business owners do it to their employees. It’s a bad habit. Don’t do it.

So, as you are working hard every day to build your company, or as you’re building your career, make sure you take good care of the people around you because you never know when you’re going to need those people to be at their best.

Often dubbed a Growth Architect by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker, advisor and faculty member of the iLearningGlobal community.