True Growth Newsletter

Fast Pay Makes Fast Friends

by: Lawson Magruder

My Dad was not only a great soldier, a combat veteran of WWII, the Korean and Vietnam War, but also a great amateur golfer who won championships at three Army posts and played in the British and French Amateur Championships. Known to place a wager or two on a golf match, his favorite saying to me when I typically lost to him was “fast pay makes fast friends my son”. Early on in my life the saying just meant to me I should not grouse about losing and should just quickly open my wallet and pay the winner. Later in life as I matured and followed in my Dad’s footsteps and became a soldier, that saying took on a far more important meaning. It represented being respectful of others- even if they beat you at a game of golf or advanced ahead of you in your profession.

I am convinced my Dad’s middle name should have been “Respect”. He demonstrated to his family and others that respect should be the norm in dealing with others. Among his many attributes, he was a patient listener, a great communicator both verbally and in writing, loyal to his family, friends, fellow soldiers and Nation, and calm under the most stressful conditions. In short, my Dad was a true gentleman.

My Dad passed away in 2003. I believe he would be appalled at the lack of respect evident in our society today. One tweet or one blog or one “talking head” can impugn the reputation of a public figure. Oftentimes, the message or story was not thoroughly researched and is eventually retracted but the damage to the person is permanent. Winning at all costs and using social media to stir disrespect and distrust has become the norm.

How do we get back to being more respectful and trusting of others? Here are some tips passed on to me by my Dad, “the Master of Respect”, my spouse Gloria who truly has a servant’s heart, and from my own experiences. They have served me well through the years:

  • Try to live each day by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
  • Never curse a subordinate or associate. You can be demanding but not mean spirited. Keep it professional always.
  • Ten pats on the back to every kick in the shin is about the right ratio. Your people want to be appreciated.
  • Push away from your desk each day and go “catch” someone doing something really good for the organization. The vast majority of your people want to do a good job.
  • Send handwritten notes of thanks to your people when they go the extra mile to excel at a task.
  • A key component of competence is maintaining a positive attitude under the most stressful conditions.
  • If you must use social media to stay connected with friends and family, keep your messages positive and hope filled. Do not get caught up in negativity and rumors.
  • When you are recognized for your leadership with an award, remember to recognize your Team that contributed to your success.
  • Don’t put it in writing or on electronic medium if you don’t want to read it on the front page of a local or national newspaper. Sensitive personnel matters should be handled in person or over the phone, not by email or text.
  • If possible, it is better to sleep on a challenging issue rather than getting caught up in the emotion of the matter. You will always have greater clarity in the morning.
  • Have a truth teller or personal confidant who can provide you unvarnished and timely feedback on your behavior. They can help you stay on track with your personal values and be respectful of others.
  • Before rendering a written performance appraisal, show respect and meet with the ratee in person to discuss the rating.
  • Remember your friends on the way up the ladder of success because you may meet them on the way down! Remain humble.

As we start the new year, I challenge each of us to make 2018 the “Year of Respect”. We sure need it in our world!

True Growth Takeaway:
Great leaders work constantly to show dignity and respect for others.

True Growth Journal Question:
On a scale of 1-10, how would you evaluate your daily demonstration of respect for others? If you have room for improvement, what actions can you take immediately to increase your score?

About the author: Lawson Magruder is a retired Army Lieutenant General, member of the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame, founder and principal owner of LWM III Consulting, and married for over 48 years to his beloved Gloria. They have three children and four beautiful grandchildren.