"You're MOTIVATING me to QUIT..."

Jun 07, 2024

As told to me by my barista… who referenced a prior restaurant job from years ago.

"It was busy and we were slammed.  There was not enough time in the day to get everything done.  Customers were lining up outside of the door.  They were hungry and we were short-staffed.  My manager barked out during this hectic day in the middle of my shift":

“You did this wrong.”

“You are not allowed to wear those shoes.”

“Why did you say that to a customer?”

"During one of our regularly scheduled meetings my manager stated":

“You are too low on our secret point system, and you need to do better” (But I was not allowed to know what the system was and how it evaluated me.)"

“They wanted me to be part of this family, but they micro-managed & criticized me, instead of training & setting clear expectations." 

Despite the manager’s attempt to “motivate” this employee during their “one-on-one”, the approach, style, and lack of empathy drove this person out.

Yes, the colleagues were fun.  The tips were massive.  The environment was pleasant. 


Let me share negative things about you and your work, but we're not going to talk about what we expect and ways you can improve.  We will never discuss it.  

The job that this barista has now exudes these things:

  • Autonomy
  • Trust
  • Respect (mutual and earned)
  • Communication
  • Healthy and balanced EGO (leader and employee)

As she shared, “hurt people, hurt people”. 

How can we not hurt as leaders? 

How can we not be hurt as employees?

Here is ONE EASY WAY (and the most brilliant, simplest method), it's a simple statement and approach that every leader should try during their next employee meeting:


There is a story of a leader that started his meetings with his team by asking the question, “where did you find the blueberries?”  He did not lead with “what did you do wrong to not find the blueberries?”  He wanted to learn of the successes.  Early hunter and gatherers would survive as a group only when they shared “what they did right to find food, shelter, water, and protection.”  There would not be any immediate benefit to share “What did you do to fail?”.  While we can all learn from mistakes, it may be QUICKER and MORE HELPFUL to learn from the success of others.

Start your next one-on-one with your direct reports with “where did you find the blueberries?” and watch success multiply while engagement grows.