New supervisor, but it's the same old problem

Maintenance Supervisor Art Chisolm was liked by everyone, respected for his technical and supervisory savvy, as well as his age and experience. When he retired to move to Florida, his crew's disappointment was unanimous.

05/01/1999


Maintenance Supervisor Art Chisolm was liked by everyone, respected for his technical and supervisory savvy, as well as his age and experience. When he retired to move to Florida, his crew's disappointment was unanimous.

Also unanimous was the crew's disapproval of Max Norcross, Chisolm's replacement, brought in from a neighboring plant. For one thing, many of the staff felt Ed Kalley, Chisolm's assistant, should have gotten the job. For another, Norcross was only 30, younger than most employees he would be supervising. Third, he was a newcomer and outsider.

Norcross, a top performer with 2-yr supervisory experience, knew from day one he would have a hard time winning over the crew and getting its cooperation and support. The question was how could he do this without making their antagonism worse than it already was? It was going to take some thinking to come up with an answer.

One day, 3-mo after Norcross took over the job, Plant Engineer Jack Cullen summoned him to his office.

"How's it going, Max?"

Norcross frowned.

Cullen smiled. "It's no picnic, is it, taking over a department under these circumstances?"

Norcross returned the smile. "No sir, it sure isn't."

"I've done some observing on my own," Cullen said, "and what I've seen and concluded is no surprise. Nor will the rough weather be over in the predictable future. I'm afraid you'll just have to ride out the storm."

Question: In Cullen's place, what advice would you give Norcross on how to accomplish this purpose?

Cullen's counsel: "Max, I don't have to tell you as a smart supervisor that before solving a problem, you first have to define it. Reality one is that the man you replaced was very competent, well liked, and well respected. Reality two is that you are also very competent, but not yet, I guess the word is accepted, or equally well respected. While supervision isn't a popularity contest, it's important to have your people, if not like you, at least appreciate your sense of fairness and dedication to good performance and quality. This feeling will eventually win their respect.

"What will also win their respect is, through your actions and responses, to demonstrate that you respect them, their opinions, their desires, and needs. Not only their job needs, but their personal needs as well. I think the most important thing you must guard against is responding to their antagonism, individually or as a group, with hostility or bitterness of your own. Max, this will eventually dissipate if you play your cards right. It's been said that patience is the companion of wisdom. In your situation that's a good thought to keep in mind."





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me