Several years ago I met a group of employees. They had important but not exciting jobs. They were below the average pay for the company. Visitors routinely walked past them and did not even really notice them. They were in the end phase of shipping and were the last people to see the product before the customer did. They were also one of the most productive and engaged departments in the company.
Two of the employees would have been supervisors immediately if they had an interest. But, they did not. They were the type of employees who wanted to come in and do their jobs and go home. They would do whatever they were asked, overtime and special projects were never a problem. They did ask for as much lead time as possible as they both had families.
Sometimes you inherit great employees
At one point, we had to fill the departments’ supervisor position. We again went to these two employees and offered them the job. Both politely declined. We ended up promoting someone from outside the department. This was going to be his first supervisor job. Soon after, both employees came to me and had serious issues with their new supervisor. They both declared he was the worst supervisor they had ever had.
We discussed that this was his first supervisor job and we needed him in the position immediately. I informed them he was already enrolled and working on the front line supervisor training. We discussed his promotion prior to training was not the preferred action. Lastly, we discussed their ability to help him get better. Soon after that meeting, I spoke with the new supervisor. He told me the employees were helping him, he was thrilled about their attitude and positive about the future.
Great employees can help build other great employees
You can probably guess what happened. The next few months were an education process for the new supervisor. Many times when I was on the floor one or both of the employees was working with the new supervisor. There were no major problems during this period. One day, the two employees came into my office and closed the door. They had something to “tell me”. They said the supervisor, when he was first promoted, was truly the “worst supervisor ever”. However, he got “better with every day”.
I can still picture all of their faces and have nothing but fond memories of them.