It goes without saying that the demanding job of a working cowboy on the open range, required him to be as tough as nails. The cowboy was not only physically and mentally tough, he also stood tough for his principles and values. Their code of conduct was highly respected, and necessary for survival in the unsettled West, where frontier justice was the norm.
The cowboy was a man of honor. He felt a moral obligation to give those he encountered a square deal, and relied on others to treat him the same way. He lived by the rule, “Treat others the way you would want to be treated.” There are many stories from the Old West of hungry travelers being invited in to share a meal, without being expected to pay. It was the right thing to do.
It is not the Cowboy way to go looking for trouble. As John Wayne states in his movie The Shootist, “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people and I require the same from them.”
As a manager I learned what it meant to Be Tough but Fair in the workplace. After setting, communicating and ensuring each employee understood my standards and expectations, it was important to monitor and help correct performance or behavior issues with anyone that was not meeting the goals. Being tough is holding everyone accountable for their actions. Being fair is giving everyone a chance to excel at their jobs.
Live the Code