When people get promoted within a company, they seem to forget one very important fact. They are now more dependent on others for their success or failure. Sometimes the higher up people go on the corporate ladder, the more and more they forget what it is like to be a worker. The higher up you go, the more you need to trust your staff.
At my current company, I mentioned that I was a supervisor for a short period of time. The first area that I supervised we were required to 30 different programs amongst 5 different machines. To make thinks a little more challenging, on Monday mornings we were required to get everything out an hour earlier. I was in this area for about 10 days when a situation arose on a Monday morning. I went back to machine #5 around 3:30 am. I noticed they had quite a bit of products left that they had to get out by 4 am and then their last program needed to be out to the trucks by 5 am. On top of it, they had a break coming up at 3:45 am. I gathered the crew around real quick and I asked them if they thought they could take break at 3:45 and still get everything out on time to make the 4 am and 5 am trucks? By looking at the volume they had, I knew they could not get it done with taking a break at 3:45. However, never ask a question that you don’t know the answer to (might be a topic of another blog). The crew looked at each other and said “no, they could not.” I responded with “fine, what I need you to do is get everything done, and then when you are finished, take a break for the rest of the day.” The crew went to the machine and had everything finished by about 4:40 am, which gave them an extra 20 minutes for break.
When I went back to the machine to thank them for their honesty, they stated that they never had a supervisor ask them if they could make their dispatch times before. They have generally been told what to do. I explained to them that one of the complaints that I have heard at this company is that management does not listen to the workers. I felt that you knew best if you could hit the dispatch times since you are on the machine every day. I knew that the crew could control the volume that they run and by doing so, they could make me look like a rock star or a complete dud. When I explained that to them, they all laughed and agreed with me. They thanked me for listening to them and giving them a voice. This conversation leaked around to the other 4 machines. But this conversation really opened up the lines of communication with all the machines. Sometimes when I would come up with a plan to meet our production times, they knew they could tell me it might not work or suggest a different way. They knew I trusted them to do what is right and in turn, I knew they would make me look good.