Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why don't they see it?

Hypothetically speaking let's lay out a crew & a situation. There's a boss and two employees.

Boss tells employees to do something and then goes to do something else. Through out the shift she will bark other things for them to do at them when she sees them, voice always just below a yell. As the shift goes on she will see a task that isn't completed and demand to know why not. That's the interaction she instigates. The two employees will wander away, out of sight and complain about what a bitch she is and that they can't stand her. They won't get work done. Often they will, just to torment her, call her to the front with a question they could answer themselves and technically they're okay calling her... it's annoying to her, but not something they can get in trouble for. This goes on all shift. She gets progressively angrier. They get nothing done. She doesn't get much done. Everybody's on the edge of fighting all night long. HORRIBLE.

Now let's see how would I handle the same crew? First I'd write down a list for them to do and ask them how long it was going to take them and have THEM write down the times and keep that list on them with a pen. I'd have a list as well. Since I'm a boss and they're the ones who typically are doing the things on my list I'd get their input in how long it should take. Whoever comes in LOWEST under time-budget I buy a drink, but it's got to be done right. No corner cutting. Total time of making list and agreeing on times that they choose & write down? About 10 minutes at start of shift. Now as the shift goes on my list is shorter than their lists. I have other things to do after all. And through out the shift I touch base with them. Find out where they are on the list. I help them with their work while we talk about the list and how the night's going. Total time with each of them at each stop? Maybe two minutes. I help, we talk WHILE I'm helping, and if they stop work I point out that I can work and talk so they should to, and then I go to the next one. "Gotta be fair, can't help one of you get more under time-budget than the other. Only fair right?" A reminder of the time constraints they'd put on themselves. If we see a job is going to take longer I may stay a bit to help more. My goal isn't for them to fail. It's for them both to succeed.

Periodically we'll all be in between tasks. We gather up, compare notes & see where we are and if there's been anything noticed that needs to be added to a list "to make sure our store looks good" etc.

Now, which way is the most effective? In almost EVERY case the second way gets about three times as much done as the first way. AND we're all getting along the whole time AND they have some buy-in on the decisions being made AND they feel like they're more important than just a flunky to be ordered about and no matter what they do they'll never make the manager happy, AND I have to buy the winner a soda. If it's been a hard night, extra busy, or the end of my days to work with them for whatever reason, I get everybody a round of soda.

Am I working harder than the first manager? No. I'm working less but THEY are working harder and are happier about it. I'm the manager. I give them the lists, they pick the times. In all the times I've done this THAT has worked. Only once have I had someone tell me the list I gave them would take them more time than there was in a shift. And I asked them to do it anyway and see how far we could get and I'd help him and thank you (to him) for pointing out I didn't know how long something would take and maybe with both of us doing it we could find a better work flow. We got it done, BARELY, in the shift. It really was too much but with me helping he was willing to try and we got it. And I never did THAT list again. I was exhausted.

I love management. I love working with people and I really am pretty good at it. I wish managers who didn't love it would stop doing it. They're really making their employees miserable when they do it wrong.
Post a Comment