DISCLAIMER: Yesterday I wrote this blog post and at the time I decided to wait until I had a little bit more perspective to actually go live with it. Then I went back to my first blog post and remembered how I promised to write about the good, the bad and the ugly. Well yesterday was the ugly and I think it is only fair that we celebrate our successes and discuss our failures. So without further ado my post from yesterday...
I've just had the worst day ever. I’ve been involved in theatre since I was 14. I’ve had to deal with many people and many personalities and in the past 5 years since I’ve moved to Vancouver I have NEVER had an experience like I had today.
I’d like to think I am a fairly easy person to work with. I’m fairly confident that when I work for other companies they are happy with my work or else they wouldn’t continue to work with me. On my own productions I try to create a positive environment and sense of community. I won’t lie and say it’s all been roses and tulips and running-through-the-meadow kind of bliss; but, I think (I hope) for the most part, the people I’ve worked with have enjoyed working with me.
Tensions rise and people may have disagreements or things may be misinterpreted. It’s life. We are human. Therefore we are all fallible. I am definitely not perfect. I won’t pretend that I am. I’m 100% positive that at some point (or many points) I have said or done something that has offended or angered or hurt someone. Conflict happens. Again, this is life.
So, the frustration lies, not in the conflict itself but in how we deal with the conflict which leads me back to today’s events. Today I had basically had to fire someone. I wish I could think of a nicer way to put it but there just isn’t a nicer way to say it. I could say “let them go” or “part ways” but everyone knows that I am still essentially saying “fired”. And, it is probably one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do.
I didn’t set out with the intention to “fire” this person but I was basically given no alternative. There were some issues (I won’t get into specifics here because I don’t believe it right or helpful to start a smear campaign against anyone) that had come up over the last 2 months that needed to be addressed. When I tried to address these issues in a diplomatic way it did not go well. I realized then and there that my communication style was not going to work with his/her communication style. And, if we can’t communicate properly with each other, and operate from the same page, then there really isn’t any point in continuing on. It would only make the next 2 months unpleasant for us both. So, I had to make a very hard decision and bring up the possibility that maybe we should just go our separate ways. Again, this did not go over well, and unfortunately things did not end on a friendly note.
This is the hardest thing for me. I take pride in my ability to work with all different types of people. I wouldn’t have been able to manage and grow my own company over the last 4 years if I wasn’t good at managing people. So, this for me is a big deal. I wish things could have been resolved more constructively or at least ended on a more positive note but I cannot control how other people react to or deal with conflict.
As much as I try I will not get along with everyone. And, not everyone will get along with me. So, I guess, the only thing we can do when a difficult situation arises is to at least try and treat each other with the respect that every human being deserves. Then we move on with confidence knowing that we have done our best.