LUCY KELLAWAY: Telling staff to ‘buck up’ breaks management’s golden rule
Reprimanding miserable employees during lockdown is bound to backfire
London — When I was at primary school there was a particularly fierce dinner lady who saw it as her duty to make sure all children always ate everything on their plates. Whenever we tried to sneak some vinegary beetroot or a nasty bit of gristle past her she would send us back to finish it with the admonition: “Think of the starving children in Africa.”
Even when I was nine I did not find this argument terribly compelling. I wanted to tell her to give my beetroot and my cold, powder-mash potatoes to the starving children, but one look at her face assured me that this would be a bad call. ..