July 20, 2005

Bad Bosses

I have worked for two really great bosses. I have worked for several good bosses. I have had two bossmen who were as bad as could be. I will discuss the first one today. He was a wunderkid, brought in from a high tech company because he knew the buzzwords, sounded sharp. He had read all the books, looked just right. He did not know his ass from a hole in the ground. Keep in mind I was young, maybe 28 or 30 years old. I knew more about manufacturing than this guy.

I am a firm believer that the workers and employees who run the machines and processes are paid to do their job. I believe you can be an effective manager even if you cannot run the machine. I love all things manufacturing, I took time to learn how the machines work, I asked to operators to show me how to do their jobs. I poked my head into the grinders along with the set up guys. Teach me, help me understand was my credo. I have no problem that my boss had no interest in such things, but after a year, is it too much to expect that he knew what the machines in his area did?

Let me give you an example of some bad management technique. It came time for the annual review. I was young, but I had managed salary people. He was my manager. I knew how the system worked. Their was a budget for the department and he had to split the money accordingly, or have a good reason to get more funds. I received my review: excellent or exceeds expectations in every category ( I still have a copy). He also added a detailed summation of my strengths and weaknesses as he saw them. I will say it was a fair and accurate review, we all have areas to improve.

Then he hit me with the bombshell. I was to get a 0.5% raise. He must have seen my shock, as he then explained that the department average that year was to be 5%. I was only getting a small raise because even though I was his best employee, I made more than the rest of the department and he had to bring the rest of the team into line. I explained as calmly as I could that he had just told me I was exceptional, that I could do tasks the rest of the department could NOT do. I rationalized to him that I did not care what the rest of the department made, I could be the lowest or highest paid, only my salary was important to me. He thought I was unreasonable. I could not believe he was so stupid to screw me, then tell me about it. Why didn't he say that the budget was low this year, he wanted to give me more, but couldn't? Why not say my job was reclassified and this was all he could give me? I could not believe he was screwing me and I was supposed to say thanks?

Needless to say, my motivation dipped. I quit covering his mistakes, I did what I was supposed too, but the extra work ended. No more 14 hour days, no more weekends. About six months later he and I got into a argument because I refused to discipline a coworker (he reported to the same manager, we re equal in "rank"). I said that he was the manager and it was not my role to discipline co-workers (the other guy had been there more than 25 years, he would not have listened to me). The boss said he was sick of my "attitude" that I had to do what was best for the team. He said he was going to personnel. I was sent home (I was on midnight shift at the time).

The next morning, I was summoned to HR. I was asked my side of the events. The HR Manager said not to worry. The boss was fired that day. When I quit doing his job and covering for him they had discovered he was clueless. I found out later that several of my co-workers and employees had gone to HR to support me. That makes you feel good.

This was not my worse boss. That story will be told another day.

1 comment:

KLI said...

Reading your story really made my day...the good guy won and the bad guy got his. Thanks! I really like stories from the "real world"...I came visiting from GOC site (read him every day, if I can). I always liked reading his takes on the CDSMs, etc.

PS Nice Blog!

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