Randy was the long-standing maintenance supervisor at a club that I was hired to manage.Â My first impressions of him were not good.Â The facilities were poorly maintained and he always had excuses for the many problems of the property.
As I began to dig deeper and deeper into the challenges of the club, Randy took to stopping by my office each morning.Â While I was anxious to learn as much as I could from him, each morning became a litany of complaints, usually that he did not have the necessary tools, staff, or time to take care of all the things for which his department was responsible.Â Frequently, he disparaged his employees and their lack of necessary skills.Â Further, I had the distinct sense that Randy was looking to me for solutions to his problems, both real and imagined.
After repeated attempts to prod Randy into positive action, I had a serious heart-to-heart with him.Â In particular I told him that if I had to make all his decisions and solve his problems, I clearly didn’t need him.Â Unexpectedly he resigned on the spot.Â While surprised by his sudden action, I was relieved to see him go.Â On an interim basis, I appointed John, his assistant, to run the department.
From the day he took over, John made a huge difference.Â He reorganized the department, held weekly meetings with his staff, presented me with requests for tools and equipment supported by detailed justification and cost/benefit analyses, established a new work order system, met with department heads to foster improved communications, and provided me with weekly and monthly reports of his actions and progress.
Like Randy, John also stopped by my office each day for a few minutes.Â But he never complained; he only kept me informed of what he was working on.Â Sometimes he sought my permission to pursue a particular course of action or sought confirmation of his plans.Â With each passing day I grew less and less concerned about maintenance.Â Confidence in John and the job he was doing allowed me to turn my attention to other pressing matters.
Two months later I suspended the search for a new maintenance chief – I had already found my leader in John!
As a leader, you are responsible for influencing your boss’ perceptions of your work and performance.Â Keep your boss informed of the problems you’re working on.Â Periodic summary reports showing operational trends, improved performance, and greater efficiencies keep her better informed and influence perceptions of your performance.
Keep in mind that she has large responsibilities, is often very busy, and yet still has the need to know what is going on in the organization. Assuring your boss that you are aware of and actively working on problems sets her mind at ease.Â In this regard you are seen as someone who helps make your boss’ job easier.
Don’t be afraid to seek guidance from your boss.Â One of her responsibilities is to provide direction to your efforts.Â Most bosses are open to questions and concerns, so long as you do not dominate their time or use them as a crutch in your own decision-making.
If you go to your boss with a problem, make sure you have a recommended solution.Â This allows her to agree with your thinking and problem-solving approach without being expected to do your job for you.
Also, the members of your service team will see how managing your boss enhances the team’s stature in the eyes of higher management.Â Nothing is better for staff morale than knowing that your own supervisor is highly regarded by her superiors.
Thanks and have a great day!
This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.
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