So I am new to manager tools and looking for some guidance / advice. I am a front line supervisor at a large organization with a unionized workforce. I have three superintendents in my department that are over my peers and myself. I report to only one of the three. However, it seems that all three superintendents have very similar management styles and opinions on how to interact with the front line supervisors’ direct reports. It seems they are not impressed with developing relationships with hourly employees. In fact, they have even told me, “If your operators are not mad at you and filing grievances, you are not doing your job right.”


I have recently started conducting one on one meetings with my direct reports. I already have a pretty good relationship with my direct reports, but the one on ones are making the relationships even better. I am getting the vibe from the superintendents that they feel I am a weak supervisor (do I run my team or does my team run me) because I have good relationships with my direct reports. However, my team is constantly achieving targets, higher morale, and job satisfaction under my management.


My question is, do I change my management style to please the superintendents and rule with the “hammer” (which will quickly deteriorate trust and morale)? Or do I continue to manage my team my way by developing trust, morale, and relationships? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

donm's picture
Training Badge

"Should I do it wrong and not get good results because that's the way my boss wants me to do it?"

Do the job. Do it right. If the superintendents were good at what they did, they'd look for results, and not for methods. If you can consistently deliver good results, then keep doing it that way. People complaining is not something one should hope for. If they talk to you about not enough grievances, ask them what targets are not being met. "I wasn't aware that one of my metrics was 'increased number of grievances'." You'd probably want to say it more nicely and less directly, but that's the gist of what you should say.

You should always strive to do the job the best you can. If you feel the job is being done better with the MT methods, then continue to use them and let the chips fall where they may. If nothing else, you'll be a better manager at your next job by following good practices at this job.

svibanez's picture

Follow the results, as told by the metrics.  Let your progress toward attaining your quarterly or annual goals determine whether the M-T methods work for you.  I know they work for me and my teams.

I spent many years in a culture where you were considered weak if your people weren't complaining about you.  I rejected that thought process long before I learned about M-T and I was quite effective.  I'm even more effective now that I know the right way to do things (as opposed to recognizing the wrong way).


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