If, in addition to his other characteristics, this man also has a high crown, he is inclined to be domineering and exacting. Since his whole intention in his sharp speeches is to stimulate his employees to greater efficiency, and since the farthest thing from his thoughts or his intentions is to hurt their personal feelings, there is probably nothing that will so quickly and thoroughly arouse his resentment as any expression, word or act of wounded pride on the part of his employee.
Most employees make the serious mistake of taking criticism or censure as a personal matter. They should reflect that their employer has no interest in hurting their feelings—that what he wants is efficient service, profitable not only to himself but to the employee, and that, according to his type and his knowledge, he is taking the best possible means to secure it.
When an employee enters an organization, he becomes an integral part of a complicated service-rendering and profit-making machine. If he has any tender personal feelings, he should wrap them up carefully in an envelope of indifference and lock them away safely in the strong box of ambition. Then he is perfectly willing to let his employer call him a blockhead, provided the result is increased efficiency and profit.
A young man of our acquaintance once went to work as assistant to the manager of an insurance company. This young man was quiet, hard-working, dependable, and efficient. With his self-effacing modesty and the remarkable accuracy and care with which he attended to every detail of his work, he would have made an ideal assistant to most employers. The manager of this insurance company, however, was jovial, friendly, social, witty, and companionable. At first he was delighted with his new assistant. As time went on, however, the young man’s solemnity, his taciturnity, and the quiet, dignified way in which he permitted all attempts at sociability and jocularity to pass over his head, as it were, unnoticed, began to get on his employer’s nerves.
“If I don’t get that young man out of the office, I will either murder him or commit suicide,” he told us. “Efficient? Lord, yes! I never knew anybody so damnably efficient. Dependable? He is so dependable that he is uncanny. I would rather have a human being around who is willing to smoke a cigar with me once in a while, to crack a joke, or at least to laugh at my jokes. Just to break the monotony, I would be perfectly willing to have him make a few mistakes, to forget something. I have lots of faults—too many, I guess, to be comfortable around such a paragon of perfection as that boy.”