The Right Seat

Happy New Year!

Maybe you have heard the expression “are they on the right seat of the bus?”  I have heard it when discussing personnel and if they are the right fit for the job.  However, I am not going to talk about your everyday worker, but rather the people that are in charge.  Perhaps you are a manager of managers.  Maybe you have an assistant manager.  You need to make sure that they are the right fit for the job.

When I worked at the rent-a-car company, I became a manager at a relatively young age.  I always considered myself a “hands on” manager.  I liked to be involved and to lead by example.  It came to the point when I was out on vacation, I would check in a couple of times of day to see how things were going.  This was harmful in two ways.  My family wasn’t happy because I was on the phone with work when I should be paying attention to them.  Secondly, I was killing the morale of my team because they felt like I did not trust them.  It was especially true of the assistant manager that I hired.

The first problem, I was well aware of.  However, the second issue I had no clue about.  It took the city manager taking me out to lunch to discuss this issue.  The city manager’s office was in my location.  He and I had a long relationship as I worked for him when he was a manager and I was a car porter. 

We made small talk and then he hit me with if I trusted my assistant manager?  My response was yes.  He then asked why I called all the time while I’m on vacation.  I stated that I just wanted to make sure that everything was running smoothly.  He said if you really trust your assistant manager, then let her run things while you are out because right now, you’re killing her morale.

If you hire the right person/people, you should have no need to constantly check up on them.  Let them do what you hired them to do.  If you feel the need to constantly follow up with them, then maybe they “are not on the right seat of the bus.”  That’s okay if they are not the right fit.  Help them find the right seat.  Having the people in the “right seat” will help productivity and morale.  Ultimately, it will make your job easier.

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