Taking Steps Toward Leadership–Building blocks

I think I’ve covered the 1st building block, character, in other entries in this blog.  Attitude is as important as character.  The way you approach your life, your relationships, your work, your challenges determines the world you build around you.  If you want to Build a Better World, this is the glue that holds it together.  What good is character if you treat everyone well, if you strive to be your best, if you do it with a defeatist attitude?  What good is anything you attempt to accomplish if you approach it as if you are entitled to a certain advantage in your efforts.  Let me give you an example.  I was a trainer in a fast food restaurant.  Our particular store was unusual because it retained its management team for more than 2 years.  Our General Manager had been there for more than 5 years, as had our assistant managers.  Our store was chosen to train the management of the newly built stores in the area.  The new GM worked all the stations from dishwasher to fry-guy to biscuits to back line to front line.  He had a great attitude and was fun to work with.  

His assistant managers though…Oh dear.  They came blustering into the back line where I was supposed to teach them how to manage and took over, much to the amusement of the rest of the crew.  It was a Monday and the noon rush was mild.  I assumed they’d want to be my seconds until they got the hang of the back line, but they summarily kicked me to the curb.  They assigned me to be the grill cook.  I informed the rest of the crew to allow them to get in too deep so they could recognize how a good crew could keep up and anticipate orders.  Well, they got in deep all right.

When they started getting really busy, they started getting really loud, and abusive!  Orders were going out incomplete and incorrectly and they were making only 1 sandwich or 1 order at a time.  They were yelling at the fry crew and the secondary back line people that made salads and stuff to come do sandwiches.  (The real sandwich makers were on the grill and sweeping up instead of making sandwiches!)  Then they yelled at them for being incompetent.  It was loud enough that our GM came back to tell them that they were disturbing the customers up front.  When the GM saw that these jokers were inefficient and slow and were yelling at the fastest crew in the area about how slow they were, he asked me why I wasn’t running things.  That made our “super managers” extremely upset, and they started to curse.  Our GM was not a big man, but he was very powerful and very bright.  He got in their faces and told them to get out of the way.  “WELL FINE!  We’ll just watch as you go up in flames you stupid idiots!” (This is not an accurate quote, but because this will go on my Facebook, I cleaned it up a lot.) The rest of the crew just burst out in laughing.

Mike and I got back onto our regular stations and in about 5 min, we had everything caught up and all the orders going out were made correctly.  The rest of the rush hour was easy, and the GM went out to the disgruntled customers and paid for their meals and apologized for the bad service.  Our GM talked to the new GM, and they both confronted the new Assistant Managers. The cost of the complementary meals came out of their paychecks.  They complained to the District Manager, and he thought it was pretty funny.

These assistant managers assumed that since they had the name tags and the fancy shirts they were more qualified to run a back line than Mike and I who were just crew.  They were entitled to respect and didn’t have to come up through the system like everyone else.  They never did earn the respect of the people on this crew.  We were fighting the smugness and the condescending attitudes the whole time they were with us.



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