For the better part of three days America has been fixated on the case of the Jet Blue flight attendant who took leave of his job (if not his senses) and delivered a profanity-laced rant at passengers before exiting the aircraft via the emergency escape slide, cold beer in hand. It seems fair to say that this guy has become something of a folk hero for executing his “KMA Moment” with style, if not a lot of class. Though this fellow remains charged with one or more criminal counts, his act is admired by legions of people whose own job frustrations make them wish they could follow suit.
Ironically, exactly 24 hours after the incident, I recounted it in a speech to a group of 150 HR professionals in Ohio. Most laughed and applauded as if they could well understand and perhaps associate with the desperate act. Hmm.
There is something else going on here, though that’s not as funny. With employment relationships devolving to the point of being totally transactional, trust and loyalty at their nadir, and a jobless economic recovery handcuffing people to jobs they stopped loving a long time ago, we can be virtually assured of decreasing worker engagement and productivity. That doesn’t bode well for an economy that’s still trying to climb out of a ditch.
Here’s a thought… Let’s enjoy the Steven Slater moment and get a few good laughs from it. We need them. Then, for the sake of the health (survival?) of our own businesses, let’s go to work seeking to identify those things in our operating environments that keep our people from doing their best work and make them just as crazy.
A thought leader in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard Hadden, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com, or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ContentedCows