Often times we have to hold people accountable. The buck needs to stop somewhere. But where does the buck really stop?
If you come down hard on someone for failing in some way, you are doing much more than establishing where the buck stops. You are taking that individual on an emotional ride – defensiveness, anger, shame, frustration, disappointment.
Unfortunately, those emotions don’t end there. They persist. That individual carries those emotions with her. So the next conversation is filled with that anger and shame. These emotions get passed along to the next person again and again.
The buck doesn’t really stop until someone shows the strength, the leadership, to take that emotion away.
If you need to hold someone accountable, even to punish, you can do that with caring and compassion. You can minimize the distance that buck travels. Or you can come down hard. But know, if you do, that the buck doesn’t really stop there.