Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Would you take your mugger out to dinner?

My daughter posted this article on her Facebook page. So, being her Dad, I went to check it out. Wow, is all I could say after reading the article. I think there are few good examples we could all follow in this story. I'll give you a couple of minutes to go read it. Please come back though.

I know, it's a couple of years old. I still think that it is relevant to being a servant leader.

  • When Julio Diaz was approached by the knife welding teenager. He could have responded differently, he could have responded with defiance or violence. Instead, he answered with genuine concern and care for the boy. I'd like to say I could have done the same, but out of principal, I would have probably been stabbed. When your confronted with a difficult situation whether it be at your work or on a train platform, how you respond initially to the situation will dictate a lot of times how it will go for you. If you allow your emotions to get the best of you, you could end up making a really bad decision. Keep your emotions in check, use facts, relevant data or your training to make your decisions, make your decision from a, "What can I do for them" vice a, "What can I do for me" thought pattern.
  • After giving the teen his money, Julio then made the attempt to connect with the teenager by offering him his coat. As leaders we are often in a situation where we first need to listen then act, vice act then listen. If Julio would have tried to talk to the teen before giving up his wallet. I believe that this would have turned out really bad for all involved. Thankfully, he swallowed his pride and then attempted to communicate his message to the teen.
  • At the diner, the teen noticed that everyone was talking to Julio. The teen was amazed that Julio would talk to anyone and everyone. We need to take this attitude with others, connect and communicate with anybody and everyone. The custodian, the doorman, the lot attendant, or even our mailman. The more we are open to communicate and networking with people, the more we will be exposed to new ideas and cultures. Which will in-turn make us more well rounded, in a non weight watchers kind of way.
  • At the end of their dinner, Julio once again turned things around. When the bill came, he simply stated that if he had his wallet he would have payed for the meal. Instead, the teen was going to have to pay the bill. Julio got his wallet back and the teens knife as well. Often times we need to show people that the current path  is not going to work or is going to wind up with them ruining their life, by letting them see the errors of their plan in a non-threating way. Often times we want to jump into peoples faces and tell them strongly that they are dead wrong. When that happens we turn people off and make them want to continue down the current path with that much more determination. Remember, you get more with sugar then vinegar. 
I hope that the article and some of the points that I got from it are helpful to you and make you pause the next time you are in a confrontational situation. Sometimes, almost always, peace and cool heads prevail and you will accomplish what you were trying to achieve. Sometimes, it's a good idea to take your mugger to dinner.

What would you have done differently, if you were approached by a knife welding teen?

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