Two Days and Four Lessons on Leadership

You would imagine being a supervisor is easy, all you do is tell people what to do. It’s much more than that, its also managing social dynamics. Over the course of two days, we were on the firing line between the guys on the floor and the shot callers in the front office.

It was rich in lessons.

Passed Over For Promotion

We had three guys who had been with us for awhile, however only two could be made permanent. One was skipped over, despite our fighting for him. I hated it for him.

It ate at him for awhile until he stormed into the office, saying, “I guess I’m getting laid off next month.” Then after a short back-and-forth, he left in a huff. The other supervisor looked confusedly at me.
“He knows it’s coming eventually. He’s a temp, filling a space until a full-time guy can get there next month, he assumes he’s gone,” I replied to the unspoken question.

It still hurt the other boss’s feelings a bit. I remembered all the times I had been laid off. It’s a feeling that will knock the wind out of you, like you’re not worth keeping. The lesson is this: put yourself in the other person’s shoes when you interact with them.

Emotions Boil Over

We got dirty looks all night from him. Convenient targets, even though we didn’t make the ultimate decision. I’ve dealt with worse anger, and the second lesson is choose not to be offended.

Over the course of those two days, he lashed out at the millwright, which in turn upset him. When he came to me about it, I repeated the principle Pastor Rod teaches a lot, and the third lesson: hurting people hurt other people.

Later he apologized to the millwright. Then he went to talk to the head shot caller, still a bit upset. This resulted in me getting a call from said boss. He asked if we had a place for him. I pointed to an understaffed department that is always behind.

Minutes after I hung up, the guy came in passive-aggressively saying he’s not qualified to work Saturday, and if I let him do it I would probably get in trouble. I told him, “Come in, he’s trained, show them what you can do. You’re not out the door yet, the chance is still there.”

Happy Ending?

At the time of this writing, he’s about to be trained in a new department that desperately needs people. When it seems like it’s over, new beginnings are approaching. Final lesson, leadership is nuanced, and there’s always room to grow.

One thought on “Two Days and Four Lessons on Leadership

  1. All fantastic observations. I am most struck by the reminder …. “hurting people hurt people”. How difficult is it to look beyond our own hurt and feel compassion for those who are lashing out at us in a given situation. How challenging to at that point put on the attitude of Christ and to Love. But how necessary!

What are your thoughts about this?

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