Are You Sucking Every Last Drop of Their Blood? | Leadership

Leaders Sucking BloodLast week I wrote about my trip to the hospital, but there was a part I left out that ultimately resulted in me passing out, and getting lots of ‘fun’ stuff stuck into me. To recap briefly I went into the emergency room because I had an epic bloody nose that would not stop bleeding. After spending hours at home trying to stop it, I realized it was time to seek help. When I went into the emergency room, they escorted me to a little room within the ER. They put a clamp on my nose and said that I needed to wait a while until it slowed down.

The clip that they put on my nose was not doing much; it just made the blood go down my throat instead of out my nose, (not fun going either direction)…  After quite a while, at least an hour, a nurse came in with a needle and 4 empty vials. One of my eyebrows raised, I looked at my wife, and then at the nurse and said, “You’re joking right?”

By this time I had been bleeding for about 3.5 hours, and this was a not a slow little drip, this was a Texas rainstorm coming out my nose. So I was seriously worried about them taking even more blood, but they are the experts, so I conceded. They led, I followed. As she got to the last vial, the blood was barely dripping into it. I assume due to my blood pressure being so low, since I had lost so much already. About 10 minutes after they finished, I told my wife, “I’m dizzy, I think I’m going to pass out.” Moments later, I was out, she screamed and lots of alarms starting going off.

As I was lying there later, I thought about how stupid this was that I was in a bed for a dumb nose bleed. I thought about them extracting more blood when it was obvious, to me at least, that it was not going to lead to good a good outcome. Four days later, I had another epic nose bleed, but this time we went to an ENT. They cauterized the blood vessels in my nose and I was out of there in under 30 minutes.

As I consider this experience, my mind travels to employers I have worked for in the past, that similarly, sucked out every last ounce of my “blood,” i.e. my motivation, my energy, my desire. I once worked for an employer in which about 1/3rd of the staff had filed for divorce during their tenure, and it was rumored there was one suicide in the early days of the company. There was lying and manipulation galore from the CEO. Not a great atmosphere!

I specialize in creating a culture of execution, but creating that culture has nothing to do with being a hard-nosed task master that sucks the life out of your employees.

Employees are people, and they will work a lot harder for you if they respect you and have an inspiring purpose and an inspiring leader. Click to Tweet This.

So today, no lists, no wild headlines, no step-by-step plan to follow, just a challenge …don’t be a blood sucker.

I’d love to know your thoughts, please continue the conversation below.

About Todd Nielsen

Todd Nielsen helps organizations create miracles of success and profitability through the power of execution. Having served as Vice-President, President, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, and Chief Executive Officer of organizations, he has learned how to create a culture that "Gets Things Done." He is passionate about leadership, and is a dynamic and inspirational speaker.


  1. Good point: being a leader means leading, not dragging people behind you. You need to motivate them to move forward willingly, leaving them room to be in control. Sucking everything out of a person is not the way to increase productivity. Good leaders understand that! Thanks for sharing! @XypressLLC

  2. What a tale. Yes, it seems so silly that they would take more blood without considering the state you were in. When it comes to employers, I once worked at a company where to more you had it together, the more work was heaped on your shoulders. I took care of that irritating issue by starting my own business. I’ve learned to treat people well in my company. Productivity is rewarded! Suzanne

  3. Great illustration of both incompetence with little regard for how much blood you might have left.

    Glad that the ENT was able to help in a much more positive way. interesting that the ER didn’t have the right knowledge to fix this problem.

    I understand that the point was to illustrate that a finely tuned operation based on excellence and precision is the most desirable operation to run or be a part of. Sounds like this blog has a great overall topic.

  4. Wow that was a really good article. Drives the point home since it's your actual life experience. So I ask you what was the number one lesson you learned and how did you turn your circumstance around to put yourself in a positive environment?

  5. Todd, first, wow! I missed your earlier post. That is no fun. Sorry you had to go through that, but what a lesson you found in it. As the bar is set every year higher and higher, it can be too easy to push people to these limits. If you are extracting blood, you are definitely not getting the best from you people!

    • TeIt’s interesting to study the”blood suckers” around us. As a general rule these folks both grossly insecure and
      at the same time quite egocentric. As we look to the study of organizational dynamics the blood sucker component is usually a factor. But look now at the danger this type represents from the geopolitical and our domestic sociopolitical situation.With three decades in the field of executive recruiting & professional placement I have met and counseled with dozens of these folks. (By the way, greetings to Lillian Walker; a professional!!

  6. Your premise about employee exploitation is sound and proven.What is needed to cure this age old problem is a 21sr Century attitude which affirms that corporate profitability flows from full employee participation based on trust at LOCAL level,
    Staff will work generously with known managers who share in their achievements. Managers who accept their main task is the development of their colleagues – Not the pursuit of targets set by investors, bankers and politicians.

    See my blog HEAD OF HOUSE.

  7. Now THIS is a topic I can related to, being a veteran of regular “epic” nosebleeds and a victim of bloodsucker employers. Cured the second ailment by starting my own business. Palliated the first by listening, as you did, to my ENT. There are certain waves of fear that wash over you as you find you cannot stem the hemorraging, as there are waves of fear that wash over you that you will not survive the idiots who get their jollies terrorizing employees.

    The real secret for the nose is to make sure you always keep it moist with Ayr, Simply Saline, or similar products. Don’t worry, however, about the cruel employers… they’re already all wet.

    • Thanks for dropping by Howard. Nice comments, thanks for the laugh. The scary thing, is that there are a lot of employers that don’t terrorize employees, but instead use passive aggressive techniques and manipulation to suck the blood out of everyone in the organization. I have been a part of that kind of organization and the walking zombies with no “blood” left is a scary and sad place to be.