Do the Dirty Work Yourself

“I am inclined to believe that a man may be free to do anything he pleases if only he will accept responsibility for whatever he does.” – Ellen Glasgow (Vein of Iron, 1935)


They say that players who got fired by New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner resented the fact he always used a henchman. I know businesspeople like that, too. In the privacy of a boardroom, they are happy to lop off heads and turn down offers. But when the time comes to deliver the message, they are always somewhere else.

(Hmm. Now that I think about it, I know a lot of people like that.)

When it comes to firing people, giving warnings, and delivering bad news to your subordinates, colleagues, and partners, you should do the uncomfortable work yourself. I can’t say that your career will be better or that your business will be stronger — but it seems to me that if you make a decision in private that negatively affects an employee or partner, you should have the guts to say so to the guy’s face.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]