In a previous blog (What is still eating away at Morale?), I mentioned that I knew my current company was a place that I did not want to manage. I have already touched on one of the reasons that I did not want to manage, and that was because I am not a “yes man”. There are other reasons that I decided not to go into management at my current employer.
Everywhere that I managed before my current employer, my employer always encouraged free thinking and decision making. When I stepped into management at my current employer, there was excitement that someone with outside management experience was coming into management. At first, the existing management team liked the fact that I was not afraid to make decisions. There was an issue with one of our trucks and I took on the responsibility of calling the receiving shop to let them know that our truck was going to be late. Deborah, who was the 3rd floor manager was impressed that I did it and did not pass it on to her. I even developed an email that went up to the area manager with what production output was for the night and reported what issues popped up.
However, I noticed some issues shortly thereafter with management. The biggest problem I noted was how short sighted their vision was. During holidays, our volume goes up which requires more containers to put the products in. About a month before the holiday, I reached out to my manager requesting more equipment. The response I received was “we don’t need it”. I reminded her about the previous holidays and how we were calling all over to get extra equipment, and she responded with “if we need it, we can figure it out then”. Low and behold, we were short equipment and left scrambling to get some. The next issue was problem solving. We were not getting some of the products that we need processed until later in the day. That caused us to have to run a program later, or cut it off without processing it all. One day I came into work and was told that we need to run that program until it is done. I asked why and was told “because we are receiving it late”. I then said if I run it until it is done, that is going to back up the other items I need to run. I then asked if I should have late trucks or dial down production, which my manager responded with “neither”. I followed up by asking did we think about calling the originating plant to find out why we are getting it late, because it seems to me that we are fixing one problem but creating 2 additional problems. The blank stare in their faces said it all. No one did that.
Lastly, I was transferred to our other plant on the other side of town. Everyone assumed that I wanted to go into management, but after just a few days, I knew I could not. The issues that I saw at the other plant were evident, but things were worse. At least at the other plant there was a team atmosphere amongst management, but there was not at the other plant. At my new location, management took every opportunity to burn the other managers, even going as far as calling the plant manager to “tell” on other supervisors. Additionally, management put people in charge that were not very bright (topic for another blog) regarding how to communicate with others or even the process that they were managing.
It was there, that I decided that I wanted to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem. I felt that I could make a bigger impact if I became a union steward versus going into management. I am very happy with the choice I made.