Kudos to Dad & his supervisor

By: Jan Bolick
October 12, 2010

Dad told a great boss story this weekend.  It’s a good one for Discover a Different Boss Week (our linked celebrations of Columbus Day and Boss Day).  

 It happened about 55 years ago, when Dad was the newly appointed supervisor of several work crews for the City of Winston-Salem.   When he came into work on the first few mornings, he found HIS supervisor giving out instructions and work orders for the day. 

On the fourth day, after all the crews had set out for their duties, Dad went to his supervisor and said something along the lines of, “If you are going to do that every day, you don’t need me.  So I’m leaving,” and headed for the door.**

Before Dad could actually get out the door, the supervisor said, “Stop.  Wait.  You’re right.  YOU are in charge of the work crews.” 

From then on, Dad gave out the instructions and work orders each morning.  If the superviser had questions about any of the assignments, he asked Dad after the workers were gone.

Kudos to Dad for having the guts to say this to his supervisor.  And to his supervisor for having the guts to admit he was wrong.

Clearing up crossed roles and responsibilities – much better for both of them – and the workers too.

Do you have any inspirational boss stories? 

Please share them with us below.  There are so many bosses and so many styles – we can learn so much from them all!

 ** See WARNING!!!!  below.

Question for thought and/or discussion:

  1. Is it clear who is in charge of various tasks, assignments and decisions at your office?
  2. Is there duplication of effort?
  3. Want to do a quick clarification test?  Make a list of 10-15  frequent tasks, decisions and assignments done or made at your office.  At your next staff meeting, ask who is in charge of each area.  Get each person to write his answer down.  After you’ve gone through the entire  list, ask everyone to share answers.   Are their answers the same as yours?

**WARNING!!!!  If there is some duplication of responsibility at your office, I  am not suggesting that you do what Dad did.  Some bosses would let you keep walking out the door.   If you still want to work there,  another approach would most likely be better suited to your situation.  Your approach depends on your supervisor’s personality, your personality, your relationship, your company culture, etc.   If you have such a situation and want someone to help you brainstorm how to handle,  feel free to write it in the comments section below.

copyright 2010

 Jan Bolick 

Jan is a coach, teacher, speaker and author who is passionate about performance management and corporate culture.

Her coaching specialty is working with women in leadership to take charge more effectively, make things happen and inspire others to do the same.

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