Should You Get Booed or Heckled at Work?

Abundance Empathy Kindness


Key Point: Does anyone deserve to be booed or heckled at work? Sometimes sports provide windows for us to self reflect. This Sunday during an NFL football game thousands of Kansas City Chiefs football fans cheered when their quarterback Matt Cassel left a 9 to 6 loss against Baltimore Ravens with a head injury. These “fans” are obviously very unhappy with his performance as a player. But what happened to his status as a human being?

Want to hear just how disgusted one of his offensive lineman, Eric Winston was? Follow that link to listen to his powerful post-game comments. 

Cassel has been the focus of frustrated Chiefs’ fans for the past couple years, many of them even booing him when he appeared during a celebrity charity softball game this summer. Some had even hired an airplane to fly over Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday with a banner asking for him to be benched.

Cassel remained on his back for several minutes while his own hometown fans began to wildly cheer. He eventually got to his feet with some help and walked off the field under his own power. This behavior must be a source of embarrassment for the many decent people and Cheifs’ fans in Kansas City.

On the same Sunday, in the very example of giving everything to win for each other, the Indianapolis Colts won an inspirational game as underdogs against the overwhelming favorites, the Green Bay Packers. What was the motivation surrounding this game? Their coach Chuck Pagano is fighting for his life, having just been diagnosed with leukemia. Jim Irsay, the owner of the Colts, made a teary eyed impassioned speech to the Colts players after the game:

“We know what kind of man we have down the street, fighting, fighting for his life, and winning the fight,” Irsay said of Pagano, “Everyone in here knows how much that this means, and this ball is going right down the street.”

How do you feel if you’re Matt Cassel? Do you think he is going to get better because fans hackle or boo him? Just because he makes way more money than most of us, does that give us the right to verbally abuse and diminish him? Do you think because fans pay lots of money to watch a game, that gives us the “right” to be disrespectful and uncivil? Your boss is paying you. Does this mean he or she has the right to boo or heckle you if things aren’t meeting expectations? Or should they use a tactic of denigrating you to get you to quit? How about a fellow associate who is failing? Should we cheer on his or her demise? After all it’s a competitive dog eat dog world isn’t it? On the other hand, Chuck Pagano, the Colts coach and all those that had a hand in the victory likely feel uplifted. I know a head injury to Cassel is not the same thing Pagano is facing, but obviously I’m trying to make a point.

Character Move:

  1. Abundant thinking people can be very tough minded and performance focused. But they concentrate on what can be done to improve a situation and help a person to help themselves get better. They DO NOT (ever) adopt a mindset with the intent to denigrate another person. Please ensure that’s the mindset you have.
  2. Scarcity thinking people like to focus on diminishing others. Somehow they think it is a “right” and the way of the big bad world to make less of others. Nonsense. Remove and/or avoid scarcity thinking people in your work place. Most psychologists will point to the likelihood of people projecting their own self-loathing when they bully or diminish others.
  3. Every person at work deserves coaching and has an obligation to self-improve. Every boss has a responsibility to clarify expected results and apply a leadership system that gives all people the best chance to succeed. When things don’t work out, separation can occur in a dignified and respectful way. You don’t have to fly a metaphorical “scarcity” banner overhead or “boo”to try and get people to quit. Be upfront and address performance situations in ways that are fair, respectful and equitable.
  4. Never, ever, (I really mean ever) gloat publicly or privately when someone is given his or her “head injury.” They are as totally human and vulnerable as you. And trust me that if you do, one day you will experience the same or similar treatment . Karma will likely give you a well deserved taste of the same.

Encouraging not booing in The Triangle,