Monday, January 22, 2007

Lessons learned?

When I was young in the Navy and my supervisor tasked me with doing something, I did it. Naively, when I tell my guy to go do something, I assume they are doing it. It suprises me later when I discover it wasn't done. This morning I had my guys go out to the pack and wipe down all the gear and remove the tie down chains. A simple task, really, that would take all of 20 minutes. I actually allotted them 45 so they could grab-ass a little before moving on. I didn't go and double check that it was done, first because I was busy, but also because I sent the whole shop out there- senior personnel as well. Why wouldn't it have been done? Imagine my dismay at 0930 when I walked past a fire truck and found it filthy, and then noticed that none of the chains had been removed. So instead of bitching the guys out then and having it done again, I just filed it away. Today was a hell of a day - I made a lot of people upset with my knack of pointing out they weren't doing their job. And our working hours were extended an hour and a half to 1530. So after an exhausing day of arguing, at 1530 I called my shop together. That's when I informed them that they would be cleaning the gear, collecting the chains and additionally moving some gear, before they could go home.
Now I know that the reason behind this was to teach them that when instructed to do something , it is better to do it right the first time than it is to have to do it on your free time. I hink they got that. My second lesson, though more subtler, was to teach my Second Classes that if they were actually supervising the young guys, ensuring that the job was done right, then none of us would have had to stay late. I'm not sure they got that lesson, though. I am quite certain, however, that they will next time. Next time the group is tasked with something that isn't done I will send home all the junior guys and have the seconds do it themselves. Maybe then they will learn the value of supervising.
I find the role of the disciplinarian very difficult. I don't like playing games. I wish they would just listen to what I am saying and do it. But I know that an evolution like today's is valuable. It is just that I am distressed when I hear they guys complaining and getting upset because of the "BS" and know that I am the cause of their misery. I suppose in reality that they are really the cause, but my feminine side (that I try not to let the guys see!) still feels sympathy for them. Leadership can be a double-edged sword for me.

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