Sometimes, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. For an example of how not to behave in the workplace, we need look no further than embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
(Photo Credit: HiMY SYed/Flickr)
At least, as if this writing, he’s mayor of Toronto — although a mayor who has been stripped of most of his duties and 60 percent of his budget. Given all that’s come to light in the past few weeks — admissions of substance abuse, oddball behavior at press conferences, tackling a colleague during the city council session that stripped him of his powers — one could be forgiven for wondering how much longer Ford will actually retain his title. But even if he serves out his entire term, there’s a lot we can learn from his mistakes.
1. Do not create bad press for yourself.
If Rob Ford were Rob Ford’s PR agent, he’s have to fire himself. His relationship with the media has always been fraught with difficulty on both sides. Shortly after he was elected, for example, a free weekly distributed an issue with a fake nude picture of Ford, with all NSFW parts covered with a fig leaf. Knowing that the media would be likely to give him a rough time, Ford probably shouldn’t have helped them along by making nearly unprintable statements to reporters.
When you’re at work, you need to watch what you say. Even the most casual office isn’t a frat house. Your words could be used against you in the future, so think before you speak.
2. Don’t make excuses.
Ford famously explained away his crack-smoking incident by saying that he was in a drunken stupor at the time. This is … not a good excuse.
The fact is, no one wants to hear excuses, good or bad, when you mess up. It doesn’t inspire either forgiveness or confidence in the listener. If you make a mistake, own up to it, take responsibility, and move on. (Hopefully, your mistakes will be less dangerous than Ford’s.)
3. If you need help, ask for it.
If you first heard about Rob Ford on a late-night talk show, it’d be easy to think that his situation was just good fodder for jokes, but in reality, it’s pretty clear that he needs some professional help. We don’t know him, so we can’t say why he’s not getting the help he needs, but the lesson for all of us is clear. When a situation gets beyond your ability to deal with it, get help — before your co-workers, like the Toronto City Council, make the decision for you.
Tell Us What You Think
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen a co-worker do? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.