One day I had lunch with Mack, a manager at a light manufacturing company. He told me he was frustrated with the supervisors in his assembly operations. They were arguing with the employees, product quality was low, and turnover was high in the operations. Mack said he knew that they needed to upgrade the supervisor position to get better people, but they really didn’t have the margin to pay the supervisors more.
I suggested that Mack try a different approach with his supervisors and see what happened over a few months. Mack gave it a try. Here are some very high level major points of the process:
- Schedule weekly meetings
- Listen more than you talk
- Build the relationship
- Slowly begin to provide positive feedback
- Build the trust to provide effective constructive feedback
With my guidance, Mack implemented this process with the supervisors in his group.
About six months after our lunch, he told me how surprised he was at the behavior of his supervisors. They were no longer arguing with the line workers. Their attitude had completely changed. Absenteeism had been reduced dramatically and the quality in the area had improved. The supervisors were even coming to Mack with suggestions! And all without changing pay or hiring practices.
Are you willing to spend 20 minutes a week to get these results? Have you ever tried this approach with your people?