Yesterday, I was talking to a former colleague about an executive for whom both of us had worked at one point in our respective careers and who was known for being something less than enlightened when it came to how he dealt with employees.

“He may leave blood on the walls,” my former colleague said about our former boss, “but he always gets results.”

It's a good thing that this was a telephone conversation since, if we had been face-to-face, I would have been obliged to smack him.

“Leaving blood on the walls is part of the results he gets!” I said/shouted.  “By separating the two, you’re complicit in the awful way he treats people!!”

Have you ever heard anyone make that false distinction?  Have you accepted it, i.e., been complicit in it?   If so, here’s some advice:  Stop it.  As long as we let people get away with being a very bad word that rhymes with brass poles we’ll never get a handle on this engagement stuff.   The way managers treat people isn’t just part of their job; it’s the core of their job.  If we let them get away with dysfunctional behavior because “they get results,” we’re just making bigger messes for other people to have to clean up in the future.  Worse, we’re making brass pole behavior more and more adaptive, which means still bigger messes—undesirable results—to be dealt with by someone else.