My Heart Breaks a Little…

Every time I hear a story about a supervisor saying something dismissive, disrespectful or downright cruel to an employee. Especially in the nonprofit sector. It’s so unnecessary. Does it increase productivity? No. Does it boost morale? No. Does it engender loyalty? No. In our field, we have to care about these intangibles. The way staff feels–are they valued, are they learning, are they welcome to share opinions–this stuff matters.

An acquaintance recently told me a story in which a third person was looking for more of a challenge in her work, and wanted to be able to participate in and observe some higher level meetings after being at an organization for over two years. Her supervisor told her that she was “not ready to sit at the big kids’ table.” She quit shortly thereafter.

I can’t tell you how much this angers and disappoints me.


We can do better than this. We can keep young workers like that young woman in the field. We can give opportunities to younger workers who show dedication and want to take initiative. Why punish that impulse? Why not support it, even in a small way? If she was underperforming, that’s a different story. But still, the dismissive and belittling language of that comment is completely out of line, in my opinion. (It’s my blog, of course it’s my opinion.)

1 comment
  1. Once again, you talk a whole lot of sense. This is something that is applicable to personal as well as work situations too. I really don’t understand the need of those with more power/experience to crush others working for or with them. This is something badly affecting teaching in the UK at the moment, where nearly all outside pressure is negative (do better you bunch of undisciplined, lazy so-and-sos) and no accomplishments are celebrated in the big public way that so-called failings are. I’m not saying incompetent people should be given promotions, but people doing well and wanting to improve should be supported.

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