Companies can ill afford for employees to be leaving because of ineffective supervisors. Think about your methodology for picking supervisors. My experience is that most supervisors are chosen because of their technical skills not their people skills. Unfortunately that is not enough in today’s labor force. For the first time in history we have four generations in the work place. It will take more than just technical skills if your supervisors are going to help ensure your company not only survives but also thrives in today’s global economy. When individuals become a supervisor of people (not technical) this often leaves a huge gap on how and if they can relate to people. Companies continue to promote supervisors that have demonstrated they are willing to work hard and some actually know the business. Then they are turned loose, catapulted if you will into the position to fend for themselves. Then by trial and error, mostly by error, they learn hopefully how to be an excellent supervisor. When they fail and they do often the people who work for them suffer and in turn the business is negatively impacted. The solution, unfortunately for many companies is to terminate the supervisor or worst yet they are promoted and the cycle starts all over again.
As with any random process some good supervisors emerge but for most it ends in disaster and the company wonders why its bottom line continues to trend downward. Continuing to put people in supervisors’ position with no plans to give them the requisite skill set necessary to be successful is like the definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”
Black vs. White? or Just a Life Lesson?
The game was soon out of reach for the visiting team. They were losing by more than 30 points early into the second quarter. The relatively new referee working hard to stay focused on the lack luster game called a foul late in the second quarter as the shooter went up for a shot. It was not so obvious to the untrained eye but there was really no foul. Having scored only 4 points, the referee wanted to give the losing team a break by allowing them a chance to score from the free throw line.
The coach at the other end of the court immediately called the referee over to dispute the call. I know what you’re thinking – the coach ahead was so competitive he didn’t want the other team to get away with anything. That might be the expected scenario but today was the exception (at least from the ref’s perspective). It was not the coach of the team ahead by 30 points but rather the coach of the losing team that pulled the referee over to discuss the call.
He told the referee, “That was a terrible call. You and I both know that was a horrible shot. There was no foul and I know what you’re doing. These boys don’t need a break. They need to learn how to play basketball. I don’t want this team to be treated like victims. They need to be held to a higher standard so they can become the kind of basketball players and ultimately the individuals I know they can become. They can’t do that when you bail them out with a call like that.”
Now the referee could have defended his call and denied taking such action. But he knew the coach had caught him. He also realized the lesson the coach was trying to teach his kids and quite unexpectedly teaching him so he just respond “OK Coach, It won’t happen again.” The referee walked away realizing there is more going on in this basketball game than just basketball.
Incidentally, the coach was an African-American (Black) and the referee was Caucasian (White). This was a great reminder that not all Blacks play the victim and not all Whites are prejudice. Most of the time life is about learning lessons from each other if we care enough to listen.
The referee by the way was my son who shared this compelling story with me. When I sent him a draft for his review he said he hadn’t even thought of this being a “Black vs. White” issue. Neither should we being thinking Black vs. White on so many of the challenges we are now facing. Lets us continue rather to learn from each other “Life’s Lessons.”
Worst Boss Ever?
As promised I wanted to share some of the feedback i received in regard to people’s experience with their worst boss ever. One response I received was, “Worst boss ever has management experience in fast food and has been hired-with no discernible experience to manage a medical practice. Dropping fries is somewhat different, my friend. Good luck with that.”
How many of us have had to endure having a boss promoted to a job he has no experience in doing? One of my worst bosses stated his belief that, “you don’t need to know anything about the process just know how to manage.” He felt if you can manage effectively you can manage anything. My question has that been your experience? How important is it that the manager know something about the business he or she is managing?
Another one of the responses was that their worst boss ever was a bully, manipulator, and overbearing. My question is two-fold. First, why do you think people in position of power resort to being this kind of manager? Secondly, how do you effectively deal with this kind of individual? Is it worth trying to help this kind of individual?
Anxious to hear your responses
We have all heard the different takes on the difference between managers and leaders. Some like the saying “Managers manage processes, Leaders lead people.” Some say they are the same. i.e. if you are a manager you are a leader! Not sure I can agree with that because I have seen a lot of managers that aren’t leaders in fact some are not even good managers. So my daughter sent me this quote which I have never heard.
“When I talk to managers I get the feeling they are important. When I talk to leaders, I feel like I am important.
That is in my opinion what differentiates real leaders versus managers. Leaders bring out the best in you. It is not about them it is about inspiring others to give their best. Managers lead with what I call title and position. They are always reminding us of their title, position and/or ultimately their power.
I have received some interesting feedback about my last post “Worst Boss Ever” and will be sharing that in the coming days. If anyone knows the origin of the statement my daughter sent me please let us know. Always want to give credit where credit is due.