This morning, 600 employees at Heritage Hills Golf Resort & Conference Center in York, Pa., are looking for new jobs.

They knew this day was coming because on Sunday night, Matt DeRose, their fearless leader, sent an email to all staff saying if President Obama won a second term, “increasing expenses brought on by recent regulations, taxes, and the stagnant economy could force his company to consider layoffs.”

And so, employees are going to work wondering if today will be their last.

Not only that, but if they’re lucky enough to keep their jobs, they could be moved to part-time status in order to “beat” the health care law that requires organizations with more than 50 employees to either offer insurance or pay $2,000 a year to each employee who is not covered.

Fear in Leadership

A client of ours, who also is a very good friend of mine, wrote a blog post yesterday about fear in leadership.

In it, he describes the different thresholds leaders have when it comes to fear and leading our organizations.

He says,

We can’t stop and do nothing, we need to take action and keep business running as usual.

We need to keep business running as usual.

It’s scary running a business. You have to take a lot of risk that could end the organization as you know it.

Your employees worry about doing their jobs really well and about taking care of their families.

You have to worry about doing your job really well, keeping customers happy, increasing revenue, improving margins, developing equity to improve your balance sheet, keeping your pipeline full, watching trends, understanding how the markets and politics will affect your business growth, keeping employees happy, and taking care of your family.

But you can’t show fear. And you certainly can’t let it influence your decision-making.

Morale and Growth

I”m not one who typically reads the news in York, Pennsylvania so, when Jason Konopinski sent me the link to the article about Heritage Hills, the blood vessels in my brain nearly broke.

DeRose is not only not keeping business running as usual, he is not taking responsibility for decisions made in his business. He’s blaming the White House, a very entitled  way of looking at things.

Look, I’m a business owner. The years 2009-2011 were really terrible for us. I had to learn how to keep a business alive without access to cash or growth opportunities. It was really miserable. I thought last year might be our last. But I never once blamed it on the economy, the White House, or anyone else. I take full responsibility for those lean years and they were great lessons (albeit very expensive).

We live in a free country. We get to make our own decisions. And one of those decisions is to lead with confidence, maturity, and grace.

I’m glad I’m not a Heritage Hills employee. My stomach would hurt today as I made my way into work to discover whether or not I had my job.

The leader is not demonstrating great leadership. He’s not creating goodwill and morale. He is leading with fear. And he’s leading by coercion…”You vote for my guy and we’ll see about keeping your job.”

Today it sucks to be a Heritage Hills employee.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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