Shortly after the battle of Gettysburg Abraham Lincoln composed a letter to General George Meade in which he expressed his profound disappointment. He wrote multiple pages explaining his position, making sure that he covered each specific reason in great detail. The interesting thing about that letter is they found it in President Lincoln’s office tucked away after he was killed, because he never sent it.
Yesterday I received one of the most disrespectful emails I have ever received in my entire life. It was uncalled for, inaccurate and blatantly disrespectful. And like any great email, everyone in the world was copied. I was up half the night thinking about all of the different ways I could respond to prove our position and ensure that the other person ate their words. Then I thought about all of the possible outcomes of such a reply. I could not come up with a single outcome that would be to the benefit of our people or help our team achieve our plans. So, I have decided to follow Abe Lincolns example, that email response will forever remain in my drafts. Here is what I want all of the Swift Straw team members to take away from this event:
- “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city”. Proverbs 14:29 Remember that he who loses their cool always loses. I can’t think of a single positive outcome either at work or in your personal life that will benefit from losing your temper. When you feel your emotions rise, sleep on it. A temper has no home in our company.
- We will always be respectful to our vendors, period. We will never exploit our position of being the customer and use that as a reason to be disrespectful. Our core value of “Alignment” means that we always strive for a win/win in every relationship that we have. No matter how big we get, we are never too big to treat people how you would want to be treated.
- Be aware of the energy that you give to others. A positive email can make someone’s day and a negative email can ruin it. Send energy that lifts people up rather than tearing them down. Be a builder, not a junk man.
- As servant leaders, we must always make decisions with the greater team in mind. Every time you interact with someone you must think about how it impacts the team, not just you. Leaders don’t have the luxury to make selfish decisions.
At Swift Straw, treating our vendors with respect has become one of the key things that differentiates our business from our competition. I could not be more proud of our team for that and I hope you will learn as much as I have from that wonderful email.