Every small company I’ve ever worked for has at least temporarily failed to make payroll at one time or another. What you do when that happens makes all the difference in the world and tells whether or not you deserve the mantle of leader. In most cases I’ve been involved in or even heard about, the company owner came around beforehand to let everyone know that it was going to happen, why it was going to happen, apologize for it happening (not always a requirement, but a nice gesture nonetheless), and provide an ETA on when payment could be expected.
But not always!
The best of the you-can’t-make-this-up cases I’ve heard so far goes like this…nothing…silence…nada…just. no. paycheck. I can’t imagine what the head of this company was thinking, but it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t have a clue about leadership. If you don’t tell your team what’s going on, they’ll come up with their own interpretation of events, which, in this case, will likely be rather negative. It’s easy to sail a boat in a favorable tide with the wind at your back, and its easy to lead a team when everything is going well. There is no excuse for this.
Don’t be that guy!