Anyone who watches Star Trek DS9 knows the Jem’Hadar. I realized they have an important leadership lesson to share.
I was once asked in an interview what I would do as someone’s manager when they made a mistake that the entire company suffered from. In this case, it was an Internet outage. This is how I answered.
“I’m sorry but we caused a problem that caused your Internet to be not working for 5 minutes. It won’t happen again.”
The interviewer pressed me asking what if the client asked for the employee’s name. I responded “I would say that it is my fault since I was the manager and I decided that this person was capable of handling this issue. If you are angry you can fire me, but this employee contributions far outweigh this mistake.”
The Jem Hadar says “You may discipline me, but I discipline my men. That is the order of things.”
Why do I say this? Only someone with a technical background can judge another employee who is technical. You can’t judge someone if you don’t know the pressures of being in IT. Every IT person has made mistakes, and that doesn’t mean they deserve to be fired. Every employee makes mistakes, but most have the luxury to hide the mistakes they do. IT people make mistakes that everyone notices, and for that, they accept the consequences.
This is not me wanting to be fired, or even thinking that it is noble to take one for the team. This is just the fact that as a manager it is your job to evaluate someone’s skill, and if you fail to evaluate it is your fault, not the person who claimed to have skills. Being accountable means that you take the blame when things go wrong, and you give credit to people when things go right. That is only fair.
Would I want a Jem’Hadar as a boss? No. When you make a mistake the second time, they kill you. Not perfect examples of leadership, but then nothing in life is perfect is it?