If we had a dollar for each time we’re called with a horror story of a business owner or leader who has put a person in the middle of their team, who’s quite simply just ‘bad’, we’d be one wealthy little mwah. team.

We’d be doubly rich if we had a dollar for every person who’s started a new dream job, only to discover that they’re working smack up against a horror of a boss who’s just ‘bad’ for them – for their career, for their work, for their life.

The leaders are wondering how they missed all the signs of bad the person would be. The lack of accountability. The lack of collaboration. The lack of generosity. The lack of decency and integrity. The lack of regard for anyone beyond themselves.

The people in the lovely new job, tarnished by the awful boss, are wondering how the person who interviewed them could be so far from their first impression. How could all the expectations they had around the relationship, be replaced so quickly by micro-management, lack of trust and confidence in their work, and a lack of support as they step up to make the difference they came to make.

In both cases, they’re desperately sad.

The leaders are worried that this one singular individual will bring down the whole team. We listen to them, equally worried that this one singular person will distract the owner so significantly, that they’ll take their eye off the lovely business or off the rest of the team.

The people in the lovely new job, tarnished by the awful boss, are worried that they’ll lose their whole career and the opportunity to do great things. We’re worried that they’ll lose their confidence, their passion and their future promise, sucked into a vortex of anxiety and sadness – too afraid and distracted to spread their wings.

So, after too many phone calls, too many repair jobs, too much hand holding and nursing people back to being their happy selves, we sat down and really nutted out what it is that people are missing. What is the magic bean we need to find?  What is it that makes a person great? How do you know? How can you be sure? What should you look for? What should you ask?

And we came up with three questions – We call them The mwah. Test.

Its nickname is the The Decent Human Test. We use it for everything.

Here’s the big three questions:

Question 1 – Are they a decent human?

This applies to being a decent leader, a decent colleague, a decent member of the team, and decent to your customers and clients.

Are you doing the right thing?

Honesty. Integrity. Trustworthy.

Would others look at your actions, and feel comfortable that you were doing the right thing?

If you spoke to your grandmother about your actions and decisions, would she easily understand and agree you were doing the right thing?

It lands in a saying we love – “How do you build trust? Be trustworthy”.

Question 2 – Are you doing what matters?

There’s something courageous about doing what matters. Not the easy path or the path of least resistance, but the path that matters most.

The hardest work, the more important, the work with least glory, the work that will not only make today work well, but also tomorrow. An eye on the consequences of doing or not doing, and making the right decisions for today and a tomorrow you may not even be part of.

Not walking past less than great or less than OK, but stopping and speaking up.

Stepping up and volunteering when many would stay quiet and commentate from the anonymity of the back row.

Doing what matters. Always.

There’s a saying “Good people plant trees to shade the generations they’ll never know”.

Question 3 – Are you good for others?  

Are you generous?

Would you share your knowledge with someone who needed it?

Would you help someone who needed a hand?

Do you lean in and help, even though you don’t really have time?

Would you just answer the question you were asked or the other two that gives someone the knowledge you know they really need?

Would you take the time to explain something complex, in a way that everyone understands?

Are you open to others, especially others not like you?

Would you understand someone having a bad day or a bad patch, judging only with the patience of time?

Would you always give your very best effort, especially when you were tired, purely because it mattered to someone else?

There’s a saying, “If we are building a bridge to each other, and we build 50% each, we might make it. If we each build 60%, we’ve definitely got it covered”.

Whenever you make a choice to work with someone – for them, with them on your team, alongside them – ask these three questions first. Get under the hood, and get to real examples that back up the words they say. If they start with being decent humans, almost everything else is workable, learnable, buildable.

Once you’ve got that right, you’re up the even bigger challenge – Take the Decent Human Test yourself. The reality is that decent humans usually hang together. If you’re one, you’ll attract others that are too. So fire away –

Are you a Decent Human?

Are you doing what matters?

Are you good for others?

And if not, what’s stopping you!!

Listen to our first podcast ‘Article 23’ on our first topic ‘The Decent Human Test’

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