While talking with a Human Resources colleague of mine recently she was telling me about the culture in the organization. The President is very positive on people and does his best to foster that feeling. The CFO appears to be another matter. Like many organizations they have had cutbacks in people and wages have been frozen. Fortunately, the organization is holding it’s own and they are making money.

Recently, the CFO made the comment to an employee that, “you should be happy you have a job.” Well I have something to say to the CFO, “Why don’t you shoot yourself in the foot?” because that’s what he’s doing by making a comment like that. It’s hard enough to develop loyalty among your people without making comments like this CFO did. When the recession ends…..PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER!

Less than three years ago it was an employees marketplace and organizations were begging for good people. When things turn around, people will remember comments that you as a manager or as a company make. When a better opportunity comes along, they will be walking out the door on you because of comments like the one made by this CFO.

My mother always used to tell me, “If you don’t have anything GOOD to say, don’t say anything at all.” Mom was right. Think it if you want…but keep comments like the “Be happy you have a job” to yourself. If you really want to lead in tough times…be positive and reinforce to your people that you appreciate them sticking with you during the bad times. That’s what a true leader does.