One phrase that I hear sometimes from community staff (not really mine, but others) is “we are human.” It’s often used as a means to excuse some sort of inappropriate behavior.

A staff member treats a member disrespectfully in public? We are human.

A staff member takes the bait a member gave them and reacts? We are human.

You remove a post you shouldn’t have removed? We are human.

Why can’t staff members be held to a higher standard than members? We are human.

Sometimes, it’s OK to say this, but a lot of the time, it’s just an excuse and it makes it sound like what happened, had to happen. When I make a mistake or my staff makes an error, yes, we’re human. But, that’s not what I want to say or what I want to hear people say to me. What I want to know is that we’ll work to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

While we’re all human, saying so too much can render personal accountability non existant. Yes, mistakes happen. Yes, accidents happen. But, when you treat it like a neccessity, you do a disservice to your operation.

People have to be accountable for what they do. Am I going to string an otherwise great staff member up the flag pole for saying something off color to a member? No. But, I expect them to understand when I tell them what should have happened and I expect them to acknowledge it, indicating they’ll do what they can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

When it comes to dealing with public situations, while I’m not completely against invoking “we are human,” it has to be used in rare cases when it really has meaning, to have any effect. If you say it all the time, it just becomes a tired excuse.