I was pushing my shopping cart down the aisle on my early morning errand run. One of the store workers was just ahead of me pulling a large stocking cart. Suddenly, she left the cart in the middle of the aisle and sprinted around the corner. I waited.
A couple of minutes later she was back. She immediately noticed that she’d left her cart blocking my way. She apologized and moved the cart.
“You took off running,” I said, “was there an emergency?”
She laughed. “Oh noooo,” she said. “That was Mr. Jerk. He yelled for me to come. Everything’s an emergency with him.”
Actually, she used the person’s real name. I’ve dubbed him “Mr. Jerk” because it seems appropriate. I made a note on my recorder to use the incident as a bad example some day. But, as fate would have it, things got more interesting and I didn’t have to wait.
I finished shopping, rolled up to checkout, and got in line. I was waiting my turn when I heard Mr. Jerk’s voice calling one of the cashiers. Suddenly, Miss Daisy appeared.
Miss Daisy supervises the cashiers and she’s one of the best supervisors I’ve ever seen in action. She motioned to the cashier to stay put, then went up to Mr. Jerk. They had an animated conversation that I couldn’t hear.
It was an interesting contrast. Mr. Jerk was clearly higher on the org chart than Miss Daisy. I know that because he was wearing a tie and carrying one of those walkie-talkies that retail muckety-mucks favor. Miss Daisy wears a nametag that says, “Supervisor.” She was also much shorter than Mr. Jerk. It dawned on me that, in addition to a contrast in size and gender and position, they were also a contrast in leadership styles.
Miss Daisy asks team members questions. Mr. Jerk demands attention.
Miss Daisy goes to her team members. Mr. Jerk calls for them to come to him.
Miss Daisy is all about what her team members need. Mr. Jerk cares way more about his needs.
Miss Daisy decreases stress. Mr. Jerk causes stress.
Miss Daisy helps. Mr. Jerk orders.
Miss Daisy protects her team from Mr. Jerk. I suspect that she does it at some personal risk.
Boss’s Bottom Line
Be like Miss Daisy. Don’t be like Mr. Jerk