Monday, September 11, 2017

Sometimes, just sometimes, I miss managing.

At break someone said, "Supervisor said we have a morale problem."

I said:

We don't have a morale problem. Morale problems are a symptom. It's never the problem. The problem is attention. People value what is noticed. The first Toyota Prius looked like a normal car. It wasn't noticed. People want to do good things for the environment, but they want to be noticed for it. When Toyota changed the design to the distinctive look it has now people were noticed for being green and they sold like crazy. Being noticed counts.

When a press is making bad product and the mechanic notices, it's not the press' fault. It's the mechanic's fault. If an employee is on their cell phone or not doing their quality checks, or is charging their phone out in plain sight and the supervisor doesn't say anything it's not the employee's fault when it keeps happening. When a supervisor spends more time hanging out and shooting the shit with employees and trying to be their friend and their boss notices and does nothing it's not the supervisor's fault. It's the plant manager's fault. 

We all see these things. We all know who the employees are who are slacking and and we know the supervisors that know it. We see them. They see us see them, and they don't care. They don't care that we don't call them on doing their job. (wrong pronoun... I still self-identify as management - oops)

I get it. It's hard to tell someone "do your job" but that IS their job. If they're not going to do it that attitude, that laziness, that "well, maybe it'll fix itself" attitude spreads like oil on water and it's a problem. 

So, people notice bosses not noticing. They assume they don't care, that the supervisors aren't invested, that it isn't  important, that the work THEY do, the good employees do, isn't important, and they feel devalued. They feel like they don't matter. And they feel it because those higher than them, those who are supposed to notice the value of the employees, to reward good behavior and punish bad behavior aren't doing their job, they aren't noticing. 

You can't train a puppy to not piss or shit on the floor by hugging it and cuddling it and hoping it'll figure it out. That's not how it works. You get a very friendly, very messy puppy, and a floor you can't walk across. That's where we are now. There are piles of shit everywhere and the supervisors and bosses just put on taller boots and look at those below them, us, and wonder why we're so grumpy and smell like shit.

Well, look up and around for the problem, not down. Looking down isn't the answer. Looking down is about blaming and not fixing.

No, morale isn't a problem. This ship has no captain and forty-seven stewards bringing us fresh towels as we careen wildly around the Atlantic hoping we don't hit anything.

I stopped, realized I'd gotten a little erm... passionate, and said, "Well, that or we're just a grumpy bunch of bitches. Sorry."

"Dude. You should be a supervisor."
"I was for like fifteen years."
"I mean here."
"Hell no. Y'all are a bunch of grumpy bitches."
Everyone laughed... but money says what I said is repeated.

Sometimes it's frustrating to see a job that I've done and know I'm good at, be done badly by people who are afraid if they try and DO the job that people won't like them. No, asshat. People will like and respect a boss more who IS a boss than one who is their buddy and doesn't do anything to fix things but joins in the gripefests. Sometimes I miss management. I was good at it. Part of the problem is the skill set that gets trained and tested for to be management is to be good with the machines, but the supervisors don't supervise machines. They supervise people.
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