Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some Boss Talk

Tonight is one of those nights when I have people at work mad at me. I have one lady who works for me who is upset because my boss and I had to give her a final written warning this afternoon for lack of productivity. One guy who works for me is mad at me because I wouldn't let him work just one hour of overtime tonight instead of the mandatory two that everyone is expected to work. Another guy is mad at me because of a situation with a workplace injury that I won't go into here.

These things are all part and parcel of being a supervisor, so they don't bother me. Here's why: You are supposed to be many things to the people who work for you: leader, provider of tools and supplies, cheerleader, traffic director, defender, planner and also fellow employee. What you are not supposed to be is a friend. Trying to do that can get you into a lot of trouble. Yes, you can be pleasant, open, even friendly, but you are not the employee's friend, and vice versa. There is a certain fine line there that should not be crossed in the relationship between employee and boss.

It's always easy to spot supervisors or managers do cross that line and try to be a friend to their employees. You will hear others complain about them playing favorites. You will hear or witness that they have an inability to be fair, impartial and consistent in making all kinds of decisions.

I always try to be a good boss in that I am firm but also fair and consistent. I feel that I would do my employees (and the company) a disservice by conducting myself in any other way. I believe that we have a big responsibility as members of management to everyone we come into contact with at work to be the best we can be at all times.


  1. Excellent post. I may print it out and anonymously post it in our Supervisors' office!.

    I am happy to see your post. I am having way too much trouble with KCL.

  2. I am a friend BUT I also tell everyone my expectations before the issue arises and have no trouble enforcing the rules. I also bend over backwards to let them know I am on THEIR side.

    I get bent out of shape when they try to manipulate me however.

    I'm fair. I make quick decisions and yes Don I have favorites just like everyone else in the world.

    My chew out sessions last about one minute tops and are steeped in fact/reality and perception.

    Now if you disappoint me, I'll let you know. Once I don't trust you, I'll let you know. I'll even give you the heads up by saying this...

    "I'm not sure I can use you here"...

    After that you better start looking.

    If I fuck it up; I'll take responsibility. If one of my guys fucks it up and I need to protect him, I'll accept responsibility to keep a boot off of his neck and have a conversation in private later with that guy. I'm all about loyalty and loyalty starts with management and works its way backwards.

    I also wont ask you to do anything I wouldn't do myself. Sometimes I have to explain delegation of authority but it is a simple one or two sentence conversation.

    This is how I got to be a Senior Vice President. I answer to the President and that is it.

    I'm not one of those blame kind of people either. If we have a problem I simply ask...How can I help?

    I am called the Benevolent Dictator however and it is my management style.

    Thank you for posting about this. It is a unique subject matter. I respect the fact that you have so many different personalities to contend with.

    Cheers buddy,

  3. Gwen- It's good to see you on here (and on fb). I have not been able to get back to KCL yet. I can't access it from work and have not had time at home lately. I'll get there eventually.

    Bobby- You are a very wise man. I have total respect for what you are saying, and for your management style. You sound like someone I would want to work for myself. I think that you and my manager would hit it off pretty well. You both seem to think alike.