My friend has a brand new client. Her new client is giving her a world of problems. This client’s employees are shockingly mean to my friend’s employees. They tell her employees that they are stupid and incompetent. They yell and curse at her employees. They make every complaint a personal attack on the individual, abusing them. To call this client’s employee’s behavior unprofessional doesn’t come close to describing the lengths they will go to be hurtful. They are exceedingly low on the business maturity continuum.
My friend tried to reason with her new client. But her new client can’t be reasoned with. So she fired them—even though they spend a lot of money in her space. She values something more than her new client’s business or their money; she values her employees.
My friend loves her employees. She respects them as individuals. A lot of people talk the talk when it comes to things like integrity and respect, but she walks the walk.
The easiest way to discover what someone truly values is to put a serious amount of money up against those values.
My friend personally fired her client in a face-to-face meeting. She could have called. She could have written a letter. She could have exercised some clause in a contract. But she didn’t. She faces business challenges head on, and that is what makes her who she is. It’s also one of the things that make her a leader worth following.
She cares enough about her employees to protect them from a nightmare client. She cares enough about them, their well being, and their ability to do their best work, that she will personally fire a major client to protect them from harm. She doesn’t tell them to suck it up; she won’t allow them to be abused.
Any question as to why her employees love her? Any question as to why they will walk on hot coals to produce the results she needs for her clients? She loves her people, and she protects them from harm, even when money is at stake. She puts her people first, and they put their client’s first.
When are your values tested?
Have you ever had a client that tested your commitment to your values?
How do you deal with nightmare clients?
What’s the line that can’t be crossed before you move from trying to work things out to firing your nightmare client?
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