Yesterday was a very bad day at work. So bad in fact, that when I got home I ate a piece of cheese. A big piece. With a big glass of wine. Okay, a bottle of wine. My stomach is in knots today: the combination is playing hell on my normally dairy-free stomach.
I’ve had a lot of supervisors over the course of my career. Some were better than others. Some were just plain terrible. I feel that I have had enough experience with management to come up with a pretty decent list of dos and don’ts on how to treat the people that work for you.
Instead of indulging in wine and cheese, I should have sat down and wrote out my frustrations. It would have left me in a better condition today, that’s for sure. I’m not going to bore you with my problems. Instead, I give you this…
You might be a bad supervisor if…
- …you have ever said to your employees “I am a good boss”. Um… You know those guys who make comments or “joke” about having a big penis? Yeah, um, it’s usually because they are lacking in that department and are attempting to make up for their inadequacy. Same thing with making the statement “I am a good boss”. If you have to say it to an employee, then it probably means you’re not.
- …you think the process/system you set up twenty years ago still works. Sorry to disappoint you Daddy-O, but there is this small thing called progress. Regulations change. Instructions change. People change. Technology becomes more advanced. If you are unable to accept said change, then you are setting yourself, as well as your employees up for failure.
- …you undermine your employees. You tell your employee to do something, let’s say inspect a shop’s tool accountability system. Your employee does an outstanding job, is very thorough and provides the shop with many great suggestions for change (oops, there’s that word again). Despite the black and white regulations that your employee provides, the shop supervisor (who happens to be a friend of yours) whines about having to make these changes, and you tell your employee not to report the findings. Bad. Bad. Bad. Not only does this give other shop supervisors the idea that as long as they whine and bitch and moan enough, you will change your mind, but you pretty much just told the whole organization that your employee doesn’t know shit. Way to go, fuckhead.
- …you micro-manage your employees. You hired your employees for a reason: they are good at their job. Let them be good at their job. If you have a problem with their ability to perform their job or their lack in work ethic, then get rid of them. You are the supervisor, remember?
- …you play favorites. This refers to playing favorites amongst your employees and with other supervisors, at the expense of your employees. Preferential treatment because you and an employee/supervisor share the same hobby, the love of a certain type of beer, or have both been around since the Cretaceous Period, is wrong and seriously affects the morale of your other employees.
- …you have the spine of a jellyfish. Indecisiveness does not belong in the workplace, especially if you are a supervisor. Even worse, if you finally do make a decision between two choices, do not state your decision to your employees, only to change your mind when you are questioned by another supervisor. Save the flip-flopping for the beach.
- …you keep raising the quota, to make yourself look good. This is one of the biggest drainers of morale. Ever. Want to stress your employees out? Up your numbers. The demand hasn’t increased, so why has your quota?
- …you don’t listen to your employees, and instead inject your personal stories into the conversation. I understand you want your employees to feel that you can relate to them, the lowly little scumbags, but if someone comes to you with a personal problem, listen. That’s it. Just listen. If I approach you with the fact that I am stressed out because my three-year old all of a sudden is not sleeping at night, I do not need to hear about your children and how great of sleepers they were when they were babies. They are grown adults now. You probably gave them whiskey pacifiers back then.
- …you don’t say good morning or good night to your employees. Common. Fucking. Courtesy. That is all. Don’t be a dick.
- …you don’t have your employees’ backs. See #3… Not sticking up for your employees, when you know they are right, is the exact same thing as telling them that they are unappreciated, and what they think/do/say does not matter. Want your star employees to immediately develop an I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude? Carry on…
- …you keep making comments about your employees’ leave balances. I’m pretty sure the leave that I have acquired is my leave that I have acquired, sick leave or time off. I don’t care if you feel it is necessary to keep 240 hours of sick leave on the books. Unfortunately we live in one of the very few countries that doesn’t give a mother maternity leave. I have had two kids since my employment here. I have had to provide over 480 hours of sick leave, just to have a baby and stay home the 11 weeks required by my doctor, after my Caesarean sections. It has taken four years per kid to even get a positive balance on my sick leave. This does not include actually being sick, doctor’s appointments, my kids being sick, or their doctor’s appointments. And my time off that I earn each pay period? Mine. Maybe if you weren’t such a douchebag and didn’t create a hostile, unbearable work environment, I wouldn’t feel it necessary to use so much leave.