Saturday, January 15, 2022

Team Meetings

I had just been reassigned to supervise a very high seniority group of Union employees.

Jobs were "bid" and the high seniority bidder always won the job. Jobs in areas that were physically strenuous or did not allow the worker to leave "the line" were less sought after. Jobs with more autonomy and that tended to be more intellectual and less physically strenuous were very competitively bid.

The group I had just been assigned was very, VERY high seniority. Employees could retire after 30 years and all of these employees had over 35 years seniority. This was a team of expediters in a function that was already a preferred area.

The plant stopped production for twenty minutes each month for "Team Meetings". Top management handed out an agenda.

After blitzing through the mandatory Safety message, one that they had heard twice a year for the last ten years, I turned the agenda face-down and pushed it away from me on the table.

"There are some important things we need to clear up first" I said.

The five team members warily looked at me. It was a small group. They needed almost no supervision. They went through a lot of supervisors since they were a convenient place for management to park supervisors while they pondered what to do with them. They had some supervisors who were rock-stars. They had several who had been micro-managing POS.

They had not decided what kind of supervisor I was going to be. They had feelers out but since I had only been their supervisor for a week they didn't have much information back from their network.

Bob, the Team Leader asked "What do you have in mind, Boss?"

"I looked in the team's refrigerator..." I paused...

Some supervisors were such assholes that they threw out food that was not dated and tagged to indicate who the food belonged to...

"...and I noticed that we don't have any condiments. My understanding is that it is the supervisor's job to supply condiments but I am not going to buy three kinds of barbeque sauce. My goal for this meeting is to hammer out what kind of ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauce and hot sauce I will be responsible for supplying."

For the record it was Heinz, French's, Sweet Baby Ray's and Louisiana. I brought in two bottles of each the next day.

In retrospect there isn't anything I could have done to more firmly plant into their minds that I understood the concept "I take care of you and you take care of business."


  1. A very smart approach. Nicely done.

  2. Yep, better known as leading by example! :-) Well done.

  3. Supervisor- one who sees over. A good one is a servant to is people who anticipates and delivers what is needed when it is needed. This allows his people to deliver the excellence we all instinctively crave.

    Are our elites doing this now? Don,t think so.