The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Why Tears Show Leadership …

A few weeks ago, in a supermarket in New Zealand, there was a terrible incident where a man entered a store in Dunedin and stabbed people.

While no one fortunately died and the assailant was apprehended, the reality is there were a number of people’s lives that were changed forever – specifically a number of the staff who were working at the Countdown store at the time.

Obviously this would be news anywhere in the world, but in New Zealand – a place where there is an overall feeling of safety and humanity – it’s a major story.

When the manager of the store – Kiri Hannifin – appeared on the nightly news … rather than present herself in the emotionless, beige voice of the corporate mission statement, she did something different …

She cried.

Not the fake tears of Matt Hancock … but real, raw emotion.

She was devastated her colleagues had been hurt.

She was distraught she felt she had let them down because as their manager, she believed her job was to protect them.

She was tormented that the pain of the tragic events would be felt by families throughout the community.

At a time where so many companies look at employees who express their emotions and feelings as weak or a pain-in-the-arse … the honesty of Kiri Hannifin was a welcome change, despite it being born from such a horrible reason.

In addition, the comments that accompanied her interview were almost entirely positive – which compared to the tsunami of hate that tends to follow good news stories in the UK and US – brought some hope from a tragic situation.

While I don’t know her, Kiri Hannifin appears to be a brilliant human and a brilliant manager. And Countdown – which is, let’s not forget, a supermarket – seems to value and employ people who value people.

So to all those companies who want to ‘connect’ to the public, maybe you need to hire more people like Kiri rather than faceless execs who are media-trained to within an inch of their life.

14 Comments so far
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An excellent post Robert. The irony being this is the only response that is appropriate and yet many companies would view it as unprofessional.

Comment by George

Exactly George.

Comment by Lee Hill

100% … which is why it maybe stands out so much. Because we live in such a media-managed world, the sight of real compassion and emotion stands out from the cold, contrived, politically correct expressions commonly used by companies at bad times.

Comment by Rob

the tory fucks are worse. they are media trained to within an inch of their pointless fucking lives so they can lie with a straight fucking face. it takes a special kind of fuckwit to fuckup covid again when the lucky bastards somehow managed to do the vaccination without too much fucking stupidity.

Comment by andy@cynic

God yes. I’m reading about the situation in the UK and Boris has reverted to type, saying he see’s no reason to delay ‘freedom day’ in an attempt to look like he knows what he’s doing and will look popular with the pricks who voted for him … despite the fact this means he will definitely be delaying ‘freedom day’.

Comment by Rob

Kiri has done more for her employer than any amount of ads.

Comment by Lee Hill

Yep. And more positive PR than any PR agency could muster.

Comment by Rob

if some management prick didnt show any emotion after such a fucked up incident then everyone should resign on the fucking spot. what kiri did was good but only fucking human.

Comment by andy@cynic

Imagine the people who can’t afford to resign. How bad must that be.

Comment by Pete

youre so fucking woke. youre also right which fucks me right off.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Pete

Proper management. Proper human.

Comment by Pete

Yep. Not hard is it … and yet so few seem capable of doing it.

Comment by Rob

This is a valuable observation, thank you! True leaders care about the people they lead. Too many people in the positions of leadership today lack that qualification. One is not a leader because of a title, one is a leader because people want to follow you, because they trust and respect you. How can you trust and respect someone you know doesn’t care about your well being?

Comment by Charles Freeland

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