Landrum Human Resource Companies Blog

Rest in Peace, Mr. Griffith

July 3, 2012

Rest in Peace, Mr. Griffith

written by:  Holly McLeod, PHR

It’s been a long while since we’ve visited Mayberry together and learned a thing or two from Andy and the gang about what it takes to have better relationships, be a little more patient, and yes, even to be a better employer.  While these lessons are important and entertaining, we can’t forget the ones who made these lessons possible.  We’ve lost a few cast members of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS) over the years; Don Knotts, who portrayed faithful sidekick Barney Fife, died in 2006.  Most recently, George Lindsey, otherwise known as Goober, died in May of this year.  Mr. Lindsey, by the way, grew up not too far from where I grew up in north Alabama.  It’s sad to see Barney and Goober go, but the saddest of all is losing the man behind it all, Andy Griffith. 

Andy Griffith, in my personal opinion, was one of the “greats.”  He may not have been the best actor this world has seen, although his comedic timing was brilliant, but I suspect not too many people had his gift of storytelling.  Seeing Andy Taylor’s interactions on TAGS showed a glimpse of this talent such as when Andy told the story of “the shot heard ‘round the world” to son Opie and his friends, and when Andy told Opie the story of Romeo and Juliet in his own unique way.

He was known for more than TAGS, though.  One of his earlier acting roles was as a country bumpkin who is enlisted into the Army in “No Time for Sergeants.”  This was the first time he and Don Knotts shared a screen.  Mr. Griffith also embodied a light blue suit-wearing, hot dog-eating southern attorney in Matlock, another successful television show that allowed a new audience to appreciate his view of the world. 

Before acting, Mr. Griffith was first known as a comedian.  If you’ve never heard his recitation of “What It Was Was Football,” you’ve missed a rare treat!   In addition to stand-up comedy and acting, anyone who has watched either TAGS or Matlock saw his love of music.  Not only did Mr. Griffith “pick and sing” in both of these shows, he also recorded several collections of his favorite songs and hymns over the years. 

Andy Griffith was a multi-talented treasure in this world for anyone who cared to listen to him.  He will certainly be missed by his family, friends and of course, his fans.  Fortunately, he left behind a legacy of memories we can still enjoy every day just by turning on the television, watching a DVD or searching on the Internet. 

And enjoy them, we will. 

Rest in blissful, musical, storytelling peace, Mr. Griffith.   We will miss you.

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments.

Avoiding Hostile Work Environment Claims

November 1, 2011

Avoiding Hostile Work Environment Claims

by Holly McLeod, PHR

To harass someone, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is to “(1) annoy persistently, or (2) create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.” Harassment in any form has no legitimate place in the employment world; however, it does unfortunately exist. Any conduct or behavior that causes a person to be uncomfortable in the workplace is harassment. The impact of the conduct is what is important, not the intent.

For employment purposes, there are two kinds of harassment:

1. Quid pro quo: Literally means “this for that”. In this type of harassment, a
supervisor would threaten to fire or otherwise punish an employee if he or she doesn’t comply
with the supervisor’s demands (or promise rewards if there is compliance).

2. Hostile Work Environment: When physical or verbal behavior is so severe or pervasive
that is creates a hostile or abusive work environment.

While quid pro quo harassment is generally regarded as the most blatant example of sexual harassment, a hostile work environment can be created based on many contributing factors. To achieve the legal parameters and definition of harassment, the unwanted hostile/abusive behavior must be conducted toward someone because of one or more of the traditional “protected categories” covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, including race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or veteran status. It is important to note that some state laws or union collective bargaining agreements might also add marital status and/or sexual orientation to this list.

Categories of Hostile Work Environment Claims

• Discriminatory Hostile Environment

• Wrongful Discharge

• Constructive Discharge

Discriminatory Hostile Environment
To discriminate means to treat differently. In the realm of a hostile work environment, an employee of a recognized protected class is treated differently than those that are not part of the pertinent protected class. For instance, if a supervisor places more stringent rules on an older employee than those placed on a 25-year-old, that could be considered a discriminatory action by the supervisor.

Wrongful Discharge
To wrongfully discharge is to terminate employment because of one of the protected groups. Open communication with the employee to explain the performance- or behavior-related reason for dismissal is important, so that the employee will not assume the termination is because of a discriminatory reason.

Constructive Discharge
Instead of firing an employee outright, some supervisors choose to treat an employee in such a way that will make the employee want to quit. This is referred to as constructive discharge — when an employee’s treatment is so severe or pervasive that in order to escape the treatment, the employee has no alternative other than to quit his/her job. This is a gray area of harassment, and oftentimes left to the discernment of judges and jurors.

Some employees can be challenging. It may be a lack of work ethic, an attendance issue, a safety concern or insubordinate behavior. Whatever the challenge, there are important steps an employer should take in order to help avoid a claim of hostile work environment from an employee:

1. Document all corrective efforts made with an employee. There is an old saying among lawyers and human resources professionals: If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. Assuming, therefore, that before someone is terminated there will have been progressive disciplinary action taken, it’s important to put the information on paper with the employee’s signature. It is also recommended to have someone in a supervisory role sit in on the meetings with you, to serve as a witness in the event the employee refuses to sign the counseling form. Thorough documentation can prove to be your greatest weapon when fighting a claim of discrimination or harassment.

2. Avoid any action or behavior that an employee might interpret as retaliation. Retaliation claims have become the “popular” charge in the past few years, with retaliation claims increasing 50% since 2005. In 2010, retaliation claims accounted for 36% of all claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If an employee has made a complaint about his/her treatment in the workplace, ensure that the employee is treated no differently than before the complaint was made, and no differently than other employees are treated in general.

3. Be consistent. If all employees are held to the same standards and are treated the same way when those standards are not met, then your company will be in a much better position to defend a charge of a hostile work environment or any other type of discrimination or harassment.

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments.

Mayberry Monday – Those Gossipin’ Men
April 26, 2011, 6:42 am
Filed under: Mayberry, Notes from Holly | Tags: , , , ,

April 26, 2011

Mayberry Monday – Those Gossipin’ Men
By Holly McLeod, PHR

The female gender gets a bad rap. Whenever there is mention of “gossip,” it’s usually the women that get blamed. Being a female myself I can admit that in a lot of cases we’re rightfully accused; however, men have their ride on the rumor mill too, and nothing exemplifies this better than the day a traveling shoe salesman showed up in Mayberry.

That morning in the drug store Aunt Bee, Emma Watson and another friend were busy talking about the latest news on some of the townspeople. One woman had the audacity to pretend her dyed-blonde hair was natural. Another woman, it seemed, had recently gone to Raleigh to buy a new set of teeth. The ladies were busy “discussing” when Andy Taylor walked in and overheard them.

“Mornin’ Ladies,” Andy said, “My goodness, don’t you look happy — must be cuttin’ someone up pretty good.” The ladies were offended at Andy’s inference but didn’t argue too much. Andy then asked the druggist for some sulfur powder for Barney, who had cut his finger while taking his gun apart.

Emma thought it suspicious that Andy would “come running all the way here” for just a little cut, and said she thought there must be more to this than meets the eye. Emma then took to the phone with her suspicions, and that’s all it took. Emma stated that Andy had gotten “one of those miracle drugs” to help Barney. The woman she called stated to another woman that Barney had gotten his hand caught in his revolver and gotten a serious infection. The next woman stated that when Barney was cleaning his gun he “ripped his arm clean up to his shoulder.” By the time the news made its rounds, Barney had shot himself in the chest.

Just a little while after Andy had seen the ladies in the drug store, Barney answered the phone at the court house and heard the shocking report that he (Barney) was dead! Laughing at the absurdity of the call with Andy, Barney said, “You’d think I’d know if I shot myself in the chest. That’d smart!” Aunt Bee and Emma came running in the court house after hearing the sad news of Barney’s demise, only to see Barney standing right in front of them. After seeing that Barney was alive and well, Aunt Bee asked how such a story gets out. Andy, indicating it might have been the ladies who got the story started, said “From a small cut, it took you exactly three and a half hours to get him killed off!”

Aunt Bee and Emma went back to the drug store for a cup of coffee. While discussing their unhappiness with Andy’s comments, a stranger walked in. The man ordered a cold drink and meekly said to the ladies, “I don’t suppose either of you ladies would like to buy a pair of shoes…” After the ladies indicated they did not want new shoes, the gentleman told them he would be staying at the hotel and gave them a business card to pass the information along if they knew anyone who might need new shoes.

Wilbur Finch was his name, and Mr. Finch was leaving the store as Andy and Barney walked in. Andy was there to tell Aunt Bee he would be late for supper, and also asked the ladies who it was that just left. Aunt Bee decided to have a little fun with Andy. She was truthful and told Andy that the man was a shoe salesman from New York. She also planted a seed of doubt by adding “or so he said.”

As Andy and Barney were walking away, they questioned why a man would come all the way from New York City to sell shoes in Mayberry. They then decided to check up on the man at the hotel by speaking to Jason, the innkeeper. Jason didn’t know anything about the stranger, but told Andy he would let him know if anything unusual came up.

When Mr. Finch came downstairs he asked Jason for a television in his room, saying that television was very important to him. Jason then went to Floyd’s Barbershop to relay this information to some of the local men. The undertaker, who was sitting in the barber chair when Jason came in, called a buddy of his and said the stranger in town was in the television business. Floyd called someone to say the man was from the Manhattan Showtime television show. The next man said that Mr. Finch was a television producer. Andy finally got a call with the news that the man was a talent scout.

The men were busy discussing the issue at Floyd’s, and they decided to covertly audition for Manhattan Showtime with the ruse of purchasing shoes – which was obviously Mr. Finch’s “cover.” Mr. Finch was in his room packing to leave when there was a knock on the door. Floyd came in with his son, who was holding a saxophone. While Floyd was being fitted for new shoes, his son was busy entertaining Mr. Finch on the saxophone.

Out in the hallway, Andy was organizing the audition process. Barney was next, who played harmonica for Mr. Finch while being fitted for a pair of black and white shoes, size 7 ½ B. Mr. Finch was also serenaded by an upright bass and an accordion. One after another they came. By the end of the evening, Mr. Finch happily called in a sale of 67 pairs of new shoes to his boss – a company record for a day’s sale.

The next morning Mr. Finch was in his car about to leave and Andy and gang were giving him a multitude of wishes for a safe trip. Mr. Finch said, “This is the most successful trip I’ve ever had.” Andy said, “We think we have a lot of talent here in Mayberry. You think any of them are good enough to go on television?” “Oh yes,” Mr. Finch replied, “I think all of them are good enough.” Andy told Mr. Finch that Mayberry appreciated him. Mr. Finch told him that he was just about washed up as a shoe salesman, but there would be no stopping him now after coming to this friendly town and making all those sales.

As Mr. Finch drove off, the men realized for the first time that Mr. Finch actually was a shoe salesman. As they were busy pointing the finger and blaming each other for the mistake, Andy spotted Aunt Bee and Emma across the street, smiling triumphantly.

This particular visit to Mayberry questioned who was the bigger gossiper – women or men? But in real life, I suppose everyone gossips just a bit. A little minor gossip can be harmless enough, but sometimes gossip can be very harmful for those who find themselves on the receiving end of it.

Employees who willingly discuss minor personal details can add to the camaraderie of a team. When those details become mean-spirited, embarrassing or are passed on without the knowledge or consent of the individual, that’s when “discussion” turns to “gossip,” which can be harmful to the employee and the organization.

The next time you become aware of unhealthy gossip, don’t hesitate to gently remind your employees that such discussions have no place in the workplace. It’s better to stop it as soon as possible, rather than let it escalate to hurtful or even potentially harassing behavior.

I leave you this week with a poem by an anonymous author. And I hope to see you again in Mayberry. Stay tuned…

Nobody’s Friend
My name is Gossip.
I have no respect for justice.
I maim without killing.
I break hearts and ruin lives.
I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.
The more I am quoted the more I am believed.

My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.

To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become.

I am nobody’s friend.

Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.
I topple governments and wreck marriages.
I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartaches and indigestion.
I make innocent people cry in their pillows.

Even my name hisses. I am called Gossip.

I make headlines and headaches.

Before you repeat a story, ask yourself:
Is it true?
Is it harmless?
Is it necessary?
If it isn’t, don’t repeat it.

~ Author Unknown

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments.

Mayberry Monday – “Cousin Virgil”
April 11, 2011, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Mayberry, Notes from Holly | Tags: , , ,

April 11, 2011

Mayberry Monday – “Cousin Virgil”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

Every once in a while Mayberry gets out-of-town visitors. Mayberry was once visited by a beautiful manicurist that got all the male townsmen – and their wives – hot and bothered. Another time a band of female escaped convicts caused quite a ruckus. On yet another occasion Mayberry was visited by a complete stranger who eerily knew everyone in town. While many of the visitors were strangers to Mayberry, sometimes the visitors were friends or relatives of our favorite Mayberrians. One visitor in particular came to town and made quite an impression – Barney’s cousin, Virgil.

Cousin Virgil was from New Jersey and was scheduled to arrive on the afternoon bus. Andy and Barney were at the bus stop to greet Virgil and made idle chatter while waiting for the bus to arrive. “You’re gonna like Cousin Virgil.” Barney said, “He comes from my mother’s side of the family – the fun ones. He’s gonna be a big help; an eager beaver, always wanting to help somebody.”

The bus came into view and pulled up at the curb. Andy and Barney looked for Cousin Virgil, but after a few people got off the bus the bus driver closed the door and prepared to pull out again. Barney knocked on the door and asked the driver about the missing passenger. The driver recalled their description of Cousin Virgil and went to the back of the bus to check on him. He came back with a suitcase, but no Virgil.

Andy and Barney got in the car and headed toward the previous bus stop in Currytown, and before long they encountered Cousin Virgil walking along side the road. When they asked what happened, Virgil explained that he had missed the bus when he stopped to buy a postcard for Barney. There wasn’t a post office nearby so he had set out on foot to find one. By the time he got back the bus was gone. Pointing out the obvious, Andy stated that the postcard wouldn’t arrive until the day after tomorrow so Virgil could’ve brought it himself and Barney would have gotten it sooner.

That night Barney and Virgil arrived for dinner at the Taylor’s. Aunt Bee brought out a large roast and Virgil got up to grab the plate. Already sensing that Virgil was a bit on the clumsy side, Andy quickly took the plate from Aunt Bee before Virgil could touch it. As Andy was sitting down Barney asked Virgil to pass the butter. As you might guess, Virgil reached for the butter as Andy was putting down the roast, therefore causing the plate to become unbalanced and the roast to fall into Andy’s lap. Andy was becoming visibly frustrated with Virgil.

After dinner the Taylor’s were saying goodbye to Barney at the front door. Barney asked where Virgil might be, and Opie said that Virgil went to get the squad car. After everyone realizes this means Virgil is actually going to be driving the squad car, they quickly exited the house and ran onto the front porch – just in time to see Virgil plow into the Taylor’s garage door while driving in reverse. Andy looked at Barney in disgust and said, “That boy has got to go!”

The next day Virgil accompanied Barney to the courthouse. Barney was sweeping the floor while Virgil was apologizing for the previous night’s encounter with the car. Virgil suggested that he finish sweeping for Barney. Barney reluctantly handed the broom to Virgil and headed for the back room. A few seconds later there was the unmistakable sound of breaking glass; Virgil had rammed the broom handle into the nearby bookcase.

Barney tried to find a simple task for Virgil and handed him the jail cell keys to clean while he cleaned up the broken glass. Andy came in and, seeing the glass, correctly guessed that Virgil was to blame. “Barney,” Andy said, “I want that boy to stay out of this office.” Barney explained that he had given Virgil a harmless job to do, but if he made another mistake he’ll tell Virgil he’s got to go.

Just then an alarm clock rang. Barney told Andy that Otis (the “town drunk” who was asleep in the cell) had an appointment with Oscar Skinner about a job at the feed store. Barney reached for the keys but realized he had given them to Virgil. He called for Virgil to bring the keys, and Virgil came in proudly displaying shiny clean keys.

Barney put the keys in the lock but the lock didn’t open. “Andy, something’s wrong with the lock. It won’t open,” Barney said. After inspecting the situation Andy replied, “There’s nothing wrong with the lock. It’s the keys. Virgil did such a good job that he wore down the teeth and it won’t turn the tumblers.”

Barney got angry. “Virgil, come here!” he yelled. Barney explained to Virgil that he had ruined the keys. Virgil said he was sorry and Barney replied, “That’s all you ever are is sorry. Can’t you do anything right?” Barney left the courthouse as Andy’s son Opie came in carrying a couple of delicately carved wooden figures. Opie told Andy that Virgil had made them. Andy examined the figures and told Virgil that they were “mighty fine work.” Puzzled, Andy asked Virgil, “How can a fellow who can have as many accidents as you… how can that same fellow do as fine a work as this?”

Virgil explained that he was by himself and nobody was watching, and that he always does better that way. He went on to explain that his father is a cabinet maker and “can do anything,” and every once in a while when Virgil was younger he would give Virgil a job to do. With his father watching, Virgil said “I’d get all jumpy and fumbly and so he’d have to take over, and he’d do it just right ‘cause he’s great.” Virgil told Andy that ever since then, he hadn’t been about to do anything with somebody watching over him or expecting something out of him. When he was alone he did much better.

Otis, who was still waiting in the cell, asked Andy if someone was going to get him out so he could make his appointment. Andy told Virgil to get Otis out of the cell – with nobody watching. Andy told Otis to turn his back and not watch, and gave Virgil some tools and told him to get Otis out of the cell. That was the only direction he gave Virgil; get Otis out of the cell. Andy then went into the back room and left Virgil alone with the task.

Before long Virgil told Andy he was through. Andy came in the room and saw the door off the hinges. Otis made a quick exit to get to his appointment, while Andy marveled at Virgil’s success. “You just tapped the pins out of the hinges and the door lifted right out. That’s fine work.” Virgil was successful only after being left alone to get the job done. I imagine some employees are like Virgil – for whatever reason they make errors when they know they’re being watched but when left alone and trusted to get the job done, they excel.

Do you have a Virgil working for you? Instead of writing the Virgils of the world off as incompetent, you might try letting your Virgil work in his or her own strengths as opposed to dictating how a particular job is to be done and standing watch to make sure the job is done correctly. Instead of being a watchdog, try letting Virgil work unsupervised for a project or two to see how it goes. Instead of micromanaging, give Virgil the freedom to sink or swim. You might be surprised at how many times he or she not only keeps afloat, but actually swims ahead of other employees.

See you again in Mayberry. Stay tuned…

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments.

Mayberry Monday – Opie Flunks Arithmetic, Part 2
March 22, 2011, 11:10 am
Filed under: Mayberry, Notes from Holly | Tags: , , ,

March 21, 2011

Mayberry Monday – Opie Flunks Arithmetic, Part 2
By Holly McLeod, PHR

Last week we visited Mayberry when Opie was flunking arithmetic, and we learned the importance of teaching/training in a way that’s effective for the learner. If you weren’t able to visit with us last week, click here. This week we’re going back to Opie’s arithmetic woes but will focus on a different lesson; avoiding burnout.

Sheriff Andy Taylor had just found out that his son Opie had a “D” in arithmetic when Opie came to the courthouse with a football in his hand and proudly told Andy he had made four touchdowns during recess. After discussion about football and math, Opie left the courthouse with the promise from Andy that they would work on long division after supper.

Deputy Barney Fife came in right before Opie left and proceeded to give Opie some football advice. After Opie left Barney saw Andy’s note regarding Opie’s arithmetic grade. As always Barney meant well, but as usual he felt compelled to give parenting advice to one of the best parents in modern history — even though Barney had no children of his own and didn’t know what in the world he was talking about.

Andy explained that the note was just a form letter and that Opie was going to study more; well-meaning Barney implied that Andy should have Opie studying all the time and shouldn’t let him play football. Over the course of the next couple of days Barney made it his mission to educate Andy about Opie’s downward spiral if he didn’t buckle down and bring up his math grade. Barney was relentless. He discussed the possibility of Opie dropping out of school, he brought a magazine article about the bleak future facing our next generation, and he found statistics about a child dropping out or only getting a high school education being obsolete – a “horse and buggy man in a jet age.”

Although initially Andy let Barney’s words roll off his back, eventually he started to have the same worries about Opie’s future. He went to speak to Opie’s teacher, Helen Crump, and she admitted that it was in fact getting more difficult to get into college. This was all Andy needed to hear. He headed home and told Opie to get upstairs and study his arithmetic. Andy stayed on top of Opie and his studies, and even made Opie stop playing football – something Opie had thoroughly enjoyed and in which was naturally talented.

Having had the distractions of extracurricular activities removed from his schedule, Opie did little more than eat, sleep and study. The pressure of doing well in school and pleasing his Paw began to weigh on Opie and instead of improving his grades, they slipped further downward.

Andy was exasperated when he heard the news. He told Helen that he had made Opie give up football and that he studied all the time. Helen pointed out that perhaps that was the problem – that maybe Andy was taking things too far. She told Andy that she had taken the liberty of telling Opie he could play football after school. When Andy objected to this Helen said, “If you push a child too far it can do a lot more harm than a poor grade.”

As Opie’s teacher Helen recognized that Opie was burned out from studying and she helped Andy realize the same. Like Opie, employees can become burned out. According to, job burnout can result from various factors, including:

 Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your job — such as your schedule, assignments or workload — could lead to job burnout. So could a lack of necessary resources to do your work.

 Unclear job expectations. If you’re unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you’re not likely to feel comfortable at work.

 Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. Perhaps you work with an office bully, you feel undermined by colleagues or your boss micromanages your work. These and related situations can contribute to job stress.

 Mismatch in values. If your values differ from the way your employer does business or handles grievances, the mismatch may eventually take a toll.

 Poor job fit. If your job doesn’t fit your interests and skills, it may become increasingly stressful over time.

 Extremes of activity. When a job is always monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused — which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.

After his discussion with Helen, Andy went home to talk to Opie. He said, “I understand you played football today. How’d you do?” “Not good,” Opie replied, “We lost. I fumbled a lot. Lately I don’t play too good.” Andy said, “I think you’re probably as good a football player as you ever were. I think the reason you’re not playing too good right now is because you got too much on your mind. I’m afraid that I’m to blame for that. So I tell you what we’ll do… I’ll just quit pushing you so hard, OK? And you go ahead and be a little boy and do the best you can.”

Opie had a strong work ethic and he wanted to please Andy. The pressure of doing well affected other areas of his life including his beloved football. Andy was finally able to recognize this and was willing to admit that he contributed to Opie’s burnout. As an employer it might serve you well to be on the lookout for burnout in your employees and try to minimize the detrimental effects. After all, happy employees are productive employees, and productive employees make for a happy employer.

See you next week. Stay tuned…

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments.

*New* Mayberry Monday-“Barney and the Governor”
March 7, 2011, 5:24 pm
Filed under: Mayberry, Notes from Holly | Tags: , , ,

March 7, 2011

Mayberry Monday – Barney and the Governor
By Holly McLeod, PHR

One of the defining characteristics of Mayberry is that there is almost always a group of men hanging out, shootin’ the breeze. They may be gathered around a checker board near the hotel, whittling in front of Floyd’s Barbershop or like this particular day, sitting on the bench outside the post office.

One of the men threw a gum wrapper in the street when Deputy Barney Fife walked by. Barney was quick to reprimand the offender, saying that “Litter brings slums, and slums bring crime.” Barney takes the law very seriously.

After Barney walked off a fancy black car drove up and parked outside the post office, the drive ignoring the big “No Parking” sign as he got out to head inside. The group of men surrounded the car to check it out, only to discover that the car had a government license plate; this car belonged to the governor and the driver was the governor’s chauffer.

Known for giving Barney a hard time, the group of men called for Barney to come over so they could point out the illegally parked car. Barney was writing a ticket when the chauffeur came out of the post office. The chauffeur asked Barney if he had any idea who the car belonged to, and Barney promptly replied, “I don’t care if it’s the governor himself. Is this vehicle registered in your name?” “No,” the chauffeur replied, “the governor’s.” Barney was visibly shaken, but with the men standing around to see how he would react, he promptly finished writing the ticket and handed it to the driver.

Barney went to the courthouse to tell Sheriff Andy Taylor what had happened, and Mayor Stoner walked in as they were discussing the issue. With Barney standing right beside him, the mayor preceded to instruct Andy to tell Barney to tear up the ticket and for Andy to call the governor to apologize. For anyone who isn’t familiar with my feelings toward Mayor Stoner, I don’t care for him very much.

Before responding to the mayor, Andy sent Barney out on patrol and then told Stoner that Barney didn’t do anything wrong. He then handed the phone to Stoner for him to call the governor. The mayor made the call, but when it was obvious the governor didn’t know who he was he quickly handed the phone to Andy. Andy started to apologize as instructed, but the governor interrupted him by saying it was commendable that the deputy had enough spunk to tag his car. In fact, he wanted to stop by later in the day to congratulate Barney and shake his hand!

When Barney came back from patrol, Andy was gone. The mayor called to see if the governor had arrived yet, and told unsuspecting Barney that the governor was coming to pay him a visit. Naturally, Barney interpreted this to mean that he was in trouble with the governor. Meanwhile, Otis (locally known as the “town drunk”) had arrived and brought something along with him. As a ruse, Otis asked Barney to go get him a pillow case. While he was gone Otis emptied the contents of a full bottle of liquor into the water cooler outside his cell. When Barney came back with the pillowcase, he drank a cup of water out of the cooler and began lamenting about the governor’s visit. He believed he was about to be fired.

While Barney was rambling about the injustice of it all, he continued to drink cup after cup of water. Before long it was obvious that Barney was suffering the affects of the spiked spring water. When Andy got back to the courthouse to explain the purpose of the governor’s visit, he was surprised to find his deputy obviously inebriated. Drunk and obstinate, Barney told Andy that he was leaving for the day and that the governor could “put that in his smipe and poke it.” Andy explained that the governor was coming to congratulate him and shake his hand, and then took Barney to get him cleaned up and sober.

After several hot and cold showers and cups of strong coffee, Barney sobered up and they returned to the courthouse to greet the governor. When they arrived, the governor told Barney that he was a splendid example of a man concentrating on his duties. He then proudly shook Barney’s hand and was off on his merry way.

Two main lessons can be learned from Barney’s encounter with the governor:

1. In truth, it was the chauffeur who should have been ticketed for the parking offense; however, the governor accepted responsibility for the actions of his employee. The driver was so used to people looking the other way because he was driving the governor’s car, that he didn’t think twice about parking in the “no parking” zone. Hopefully the governor made sure that the driver was properly admonished when he got back to the capitol.

2. No one should be exempt from the rules, and Barney did the right thing by tagging the governor’s car. Rules are in place for a reason – oftentimes due to safety issues. Just because the rule can be broken because of someone’s place within an organization, it doesn’t mean that it should be. This can happen with top performers. If an employee is exceptionally talented and/or makes money for the business, employers are sometimes tempted to look the other way when rules are being broken. Don’t. You’re not helping the organization and you’re not helping the employee. How do you think this affects the morale and motivation of your other employees who follow the rules? Simply put it causes resentment, which in turn causes loss of loyalty, motivation and productivity.

According to psychologist and counselor Denis Hay of Compassion Coach, there are several negative effects of resentment in the workplace:

• Resentment distorts problem-solving to overkill or underestimation
• Resentment increases error rates
• Resentment deteriorates mental and physical performance, including:

-Thought-processing and reality-testing
-Perception: We hear and see things inaccurately
-Learning and memory

• Resentment suppresses the immune system, increasing sick leave. It wreaks havoc in home life, and raises absenteeism and distraction at work.

When a rule exists within your company there must be a purpose for the rule; therefore, it is assumed that the rule has value. If it doesn’t, then you may want to assess your rules and the reason they exist. If after that assessment you determine your rules are good ones that need to be upheld, then I encourage you to apply the rules consistently instead making exceptions for a few individuals. As the governor was congratulating Barney for his spunk he said, “You know, you really can’t have 100% law enforcement if you make exceptions to a few privileged.” I couldn’t agree more. How about you?

Thanks for joining me once again in Mayberry. Stay tuned…

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments.

Mayberry Monday
February 28, 2011, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Mayberry, Notes from Holly | Tags: , ,

February 24, 2011

Howdy! Thank you to all of the loyal followers of our blog and Holly’s Mayberry Monday blog posts! We hope you have enjoyed the stories and teachings as much as we have enjoyed sharing them with you. In fact, before we kick off a new year of “learned lessons” from the daily lives of Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife, we would like to “re-run” some of our favorite Mayberry Monday posts. We would love to know your favorite Mayberry story. Do you have a favorite episode of The Andy Griffith Show? Share your favorites as we share a few of ours over the next few weeks.

Mayberry Monday – “The Loaded Goat”
By Holly McLeod, PHR
First posted August 9, 2010

Wouldn’t it be delightful if we could count on others to do what they’re supposed to do, motivate themselves, strive for perfection, self-correct when needed, and maintain a sunny disposition and spirit of cooperation at all times? Even in idyllic Mayberry that’s not always the case. For instance, Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife once met a stubborn goat named Jimmy that definitely lived by his own agenda.

In “The Loaded Goat,” Andy and the mayor are talking in Floyd’s Barbershop and we hear the sound of dynamite blasting in the background. Andy and the mayor – that’s Mayor Stoner, the pretentious and meddling one I don’t like –are talking about the work being done at a construction site outside of town to complete the “new underpass.” Local farmer Cy “Hudge” Hudgins walks in the barbershop with his beloved goat, Jimmy.

Hudge loved Jimmy and spoke to him like he was his best friend, which in all probability, he was. Hudge had brought Jimmy to town and, after leaving the barbershop, tied Jimmy up to a bench on the sidewalk and told him to wait there. Hudge then left to run his errands, but as you can guess Jimmy didn’t do as he was told. As goats tend to do, Jimmy chewed through the rope and subsequently walked off. He briefly entered the courthouse after hearing Barney play his French harp (aka harmonica), but Barney shoed him out.

As the blasting continues a little while later, Hudge comes in the courthouse looking for his lost Jimmy. Andy and Barney help him look, and to their horror find evidence to indicate that Jimmy had apparently eaten a bunch of dynamite that was being stored for the underpass project. Upset and embarrassed at Jimmy, Hudge replies, “Ain’t that the way it always is. First time he comes to town, he figures he’s got to do everything.”

As you can imagine, everyone was understandably concerned about having a “loaded” goat running around town with the possibility of exploding (“going blooey”). With the responsibility of protecting the folks of Mayberry, Andy and Barney set out to find Jimmy before he could cause any harm.

While Andy and Barney are out looking for Jimmy, Jimmy comes in the courthouse again. He walks into the jail cell where he encounters a very intoxicated Otis Campbell, who mistakes Jimmy for his Uncle Nat. When Otis realizes Jimmy isn’t his uncle, Otis starts to wrestle with Jimmy to get the goat out of the cell so that he can sleep off his recent revelry. Andy and Barney enter the courthouse and see Jimmy thrashing his head from side to side in anger.

Andy tells Barney to get out his French harp. As Barney starts to play, Jimmy starts to settle down. The longer Barney plays, the calmer Jimmy gets. After a moment or two, Andy opens the door to the courthouse and motions for Barney to start walking. As Barney walks outside while playing the song, Jimmy starts to follow. Andy and Barney, led by Barney and his harmonica, eventually lead Jimmy out to the country where he no longer poses a threat to himself or others.

Now personally, I’ve never been up close and personal with an angry goat. But I’ve got to tell you that I’m not sure I would stick around with one, especially knowing that it was full of dynamite. Hudge did his best to instruct Jimmy to stay put and out of trouble, but Jimmy had other plans. After all, Jimmy was just being Jimmy.

Some employees are like Jimmy. You do your best to guide them, but they march to the beat of their own drum. You expect them to do things a certain way in order to reach collective goals, but the Jimmys of the world think of their own way to reach the goal. It’s quite possible that these employees will even have their own goals in mind, disregarding yours altogether.

When you come across a Jimmy or two in your organization it might be easy to get frustrated, and even cause you to want to give up on them. Don’t be quick to give up. Employees like Jimmy call for guidance, not abandonment. Jimmy isn’t necessarily bad, he may just be a little challenging to manage. Or, it may be that Jimmy is simply enthusiastic and wanting to march forward to finish the job in his own way.

Of course there are some employees who are either incapable or unwilling to follow rules or work toward the goals you set, and that must be addressed. If such behavior continues, you may indeed end up having to let that particular Jimmy go to find other opportunities. However, for most of the Jimmys out there, much of what may be frustrating you is that they are not doing things exactly the way you would do them.

Now tell me… do you want everyone to act, think and do everything just like you? I hope not. Different personalities, approaches and opinions can not only make your organization greater, but some of the most productive and forward-thinking ideas can come from the free spirited employee. There is a short story by B.J. Gallagher and Warren H. Schmidt called A Peacock in the Land of Penguins, which creatively demonstrates why you shouldn’t try to force energetic and enthusiastic employees into a certain mold. If people are working toward common goals, it should be OK if Jimmy or Jimmette wants to do things a little differently – as long as your goals are being met.

What you need is to find ways to steer your employees the way you want them to go. There are many different and positive ways to motivate, inspire, guide, direct and engage employees – too many to address here. Just do a quick Google search on “employee engagement” or “motivating employees” and you’ll find an abundance of resources on the subject. Andy and Barney steered poor Jimmy with a harmonica and a lot of patience. What ideas can you come up with to help your Jimmy?

See you in Mayberry next Monday. Stay tuned…
Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments.


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