Turbo Leadership Systems

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May 8, 2012 Issue 379 To our clients and friends

In From The Cold

Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Just the facts ma’am

Tom, operations supervisor for a hardwood lumber plant in northern Pennsylvania, told Session 5 of the Leadership Development Lab:

“It was the winter of 1989 at around 9:00 in the morning. I had been working for approximately three hours out of doors in ten degree weather with a wind chill of at least zero or below. I was trying to keep rows of inbound logs scaled and marked, to keep two log lifts busy so our saw mill would not be held up for a lack of log supply. I had worked through my scheduled break and just a little bit longer to finish another row for pick up. I walked in to the boiler house (our break room) sat down to have a hot cup of coffee, a sandwich and try to thaw out a little bit. I had just taken my first bite when the production manager, Jack, walked into the break room. He looked at me and without asking why I was in the break room, proceeded to chew me out. He didn’t accept my reply that I had worked through my regular break time to keep things going for the saw mill, and had just come in for a quick break. He told me that I was to take my break at the scheduled time or not at all. He went on to say, “If you don’t like it, 5,000 Cuban refugees who have their applications in at the office could easily replace you” – talk about belittling and diminishing! If I had expected any acknowledgement, appreciation or gratitude for going the extra mile, extending myself into the job for the betterment of the company and my team, I sure had another thing coming. Acknowledging me was the furthest thing from Jack’s mind – he was far more interested in compliance than cooperation between departments or commitment to advancing thru put goals. I sure hope I never act like that jerk! I finished my sandwich and coffee and went back to work. Nothing really changed except my attitude toward Jack and, of course, the company and management whoever it was who put him in the position of power and control he enjoyed.”

“The lesson I learned from that experience is to get the facts before I go off

half cocked. I learned the importance of listening to what my employees have to tell me before I reach any conclusion. I learned the debilitating effect of belittling other people and that if I want to motivate, never to begin my approach with criticism and condemning attacks.

“The action I call you to take is to get the facts before you make a judgment. Make an honest effort to see things from the other person’s point of view. Give your team a break and never chew people out if you want to cultivate a winning team. Don’t be a jerk like Jack!

“The benefit you will gain is your employees will have more respect for you - the kind of respect required to create a dedicated team that continues to create breakthroughs with record setting improvements in all the key performance areas of your business. Your team will work cooperatively with commitment to perform at ever higher levels and do so willingly with enthusiasm.”

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