I am not a fan of the sentiment: “It’s not personal, it’s business”. I find that the only times this line is thrown out there is to dismiss inappropriate decisions or behaviors. For example:
- Firing someone: Sure you are not firing someone because you don’t like their hair cut. However, losing a job is extremely personal for them. Their life is about to massively change. This line is only trying to make yourself feel better. Suck it up and don’t you dare say it to someone.
- Delivering tough feedback: You have to give the feedback. However, you also have to acknowledge that the feedback is tough to hear. Don’t stop treating the person like a person and expect them to become a robot without feelings because it will make it easier for you. Allow them time to emotionally react and then discuss the feedback. Pretending like it’s just business will likely result in little ownership from them.
Here’s the thing: People are people and most of them, have feelings. Most of us are even emotional at times. I know I am – it’s what makes me a human being. The fact is I can’t be as passionate about something that is not personal to me. I don’t spend this amount of time on something that is not personal to me. Now there absolutely are business decisions that have to be made that conflict with our personal feelings. Those moments are the hardest ones to execute but know as a leader stating that sentiment is not comforting anyone.
What common business quote drives you nuts?