Did I ever explain that I had a period of management under my belt? I made a loop, by starting out as a section manager, monitoring Divisional productivity with a staff of four (4). I worked at that position for four years. I relinquished that function and got out of the central office for a while, actually for thirteen years.
The last segment of my employment was as the Division Manager. At the one point, our Division consisted for 325 employees. This last segment covered 17 years! Wow it’s difficult to imagine I held that position longer than any other Division Manager before me.
I learned that hardest thing for me to do was to NOT constantly give my “two cents” about an issue, that means I must keep my mouth shut and listen. (It took some time for me to learn that-especially since I lean toward a Type A, OCD personality). I did always believe, however, that you should give your employee the tools and opportunity to perform their job and not micromanage. I believed that you developed better dedicated and supportive employees with that approach.
During that last 17 year stretch, I can recall one bad management decision that I made. (Well ONE that I will confess to and/or tell YOU about).
To obtain a position with us, you must be able to pass an open and competitive examination, primarily covering bookkeeping and accounting functions. There was this one person from a “sister” division that sat for the exam and scored 4 points short. In fact they had somewhere in the range at least 3 or 4 other times they had tested and fallen short. After their last testing session it was brought to my attention that again they had fallen short by the slimmest of scores. So based upon their employment history working in a field directly related to our function I threw away the management thinking and opted for the compassionate thinking and advised our testing moderator that the person had finally passed! We had one happy new employee.
Well, it didn’t take very long to find out that there was a very good reason why the person ALWAYS came up short on the test. Try was we might, we learned that it was impossible to help “push” the employee up and over the learning curve. Finally, in order to get their attention to focus on certain areas, marginal ratings were given as well as probation. Which in turn was met with union road blocks and allegations of racial bias. It wasn’t long before the employee lost their car and could only perform assignments accessible by public transportation. The number of completed assignments began dropping and still it was “our” bias that was at fault for the employee’s poor performance.
I believe that the employee is no long around, but their separation occurred long after I had retired. Yes, compassion has a place in management, but you need to be VERY careful when you apply it. Like I said, it was THE one mistake that can “remember” that I made.