Hit by Friendly Fire

June 2, 2010 - Mac Lake - Leadership
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Just months after the September 11 attack on US soil Pat Tillman, safety for the Arizona Cardinals, turned down a 3.5 million dollar contract in order to join the US Army and defend his country . While serving on patrol in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, Tillman was killed in a friendly fire incident.  Friendly fire is a strange term isn’t it?  It means to fire inadvertently on someone on your own squad.   It isn’t intentional, they don’t purposely cause harm, it happens because someone isn’t paying attention.

Unfortunately there are people in offices all across the country who are struck by “friendly fire” everyday. Leaders who shoot off at the mouth in anger or frustration deploy careless and insensitive words that do serious damage to their own team members. Several years ago I walked into a fellow employees office and found her crying.  She shared that her supervisor was in a bad mood and “let her have it.”  While I did my best to listen and “treat the wound” the damage was done.  Morale and motivation had been killed.  She would go on to survive, but not without scars and a deep level of distrust toward her leader. 

In Proverbs 12:16 Solomon warns us of the devastating effects of stray words, “Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

How can you use your words today to build the morale and motivation of your team?

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Mac Lake

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One response to Hit by Friendly Fire

  1. One of the best principles/practices I’ve come across to minimize friendly fire is this: if you’re talking about someone who isn’t in the room, talk as if they were in the room. Often the worst cases of friendly fire happen to those who aren’t present to defend themselves.

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