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riverspark
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12 Mar 2010, 12:49 pm

aspi-rant wrote:
been there. done that. never again... i hope. ;-)


Me too. My summer job last year was originally supposed to have me spending part of my workday overseeing six people aged 16-24, enthusiastic about the outdoors and considering careers in natural resources, while we all pulled weeds and did other prairie maintenance tasks. These people were supposed to be part of a state jobs program. I accepted the job offer, thinking this might be a good way to push my "comfort zone" and finally learn some management skills.

What actually happened was that only one young adult signed up for the program, so the state assigned us five convicted felons from the local halfway house. Also, my employer didn't get funding for a full-time "main" supervisor. I ended up spending all day, every day, babysitting these people . It was an absolute nightmare. I also received almost no management training. If I hadn't had a second maintenance person to play the "bad cop," those six people would have been completely out of control instead of only partially so. I kept telling my bosses what was going on, but they were the sort of bosses that are "too nice" and let everyone get away with everything. I did eventually end up getting the two worst offenders fired, but by that time, the summer was almost over anyway.

I stuck it out for the entire ten agonizing weeks, and was traumatized to the point where I have absolutely ZERO desire to ever supervise anyone, ever again, in any situation.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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13 Mar 2010, 12:31 pm

riverspark wrote:
. . . What actually happened was that only one young adult signed up for the program, so the state assigned us five convicted felons from the local halfway house. Also, my employer didn't get funding for a full-time "main" supervisor. . .

Wow.

First off, your bosses need to provide back-up. Being "too nice" (and I view this as being passive) in which they let everyone get away with everything is not a solution and is in fact a main contributor to the problem. This is a boss being disengaged, and that is disappointingly common. And you'd think somewhere between that and yelling at people at the drop of a hat would be a happy medium, but apparently this happy medium is harder to find than one might think. (I don't think the bosses are trying in a real way, getting feedback, and then trying again. Instead, maybe they become defensive and get hurt if their first effort doesn't work, I don't know. Or, maybe they expect things to automatically work just because they say so.)

Okay, when it changed from young people enthusiastic about the outdoors to convicted felons---yeah, that's a game changer alright. And at that point, your prospective boss should have asked you in a real way if you still wanted to take on this very different situation. Maybe something like this:

'Okay, this is going to be way different and I want you to take a day or two to think about this. Yes, we can make a difference. Yes, we can provide an opportunity to help re-integrate these felons, these former felons, back into society. But this sure wasn't what we had been expecting. So, please take at least a day to think about it, and make sure you still want to do this. And I'll understand either way.'

(A good boss would have done this. But, and this is where I run into trouble, maybe from Asperger's, maybe that I just tend to have perfectionist standards which I still might have even if I didn't have Asperger's, would this be the top 30% of bosses who would be able to do this? Or just the top 3% of bosses? I honestly don't know.)



NorthernLights
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16 Mar 2010, 4:30 pm

MS....I realize that what works in one context isn't necessarily going to work in another. I've been fortunate that the nature of my own work has allowed me to be the proverbial fly-on-the-wall for a lot of work environments, ranging from military to research stations to oil rigs to big city ERs, etc etc etc, and the construction trades is one of those where I know that I wouldn't last long...or should I say, one where my 'natural' management style wouldn't last long.

Aardvaark....you are entirely correct re some people just need/want to be told what to do. It took me many years to realize that. My experience in managing people--something that I'm very proud of but also very glad not to be doing in my present capacity!!!---is that with diligence and effort it is possible to 'figure out' what each person or clique on your team 'needs' in terms of mgt. The problems come when you incorrectly match strategy with need, whether due to lack of ability, insight, cooperation (sometimes it really is THEM!), time, resources, or whatever.

The only kind of person who I absolutely have never been able to 'crack' in the management dept is the kind of person who I regard as the hyperactive impatient know it all--in other words, whatever the Myers Briggs antithesis of an INTJ (which is what I type out as, and it's scary to read an INTJ definition such as that found on Wikipedia and recognize it as absolutely spot-on when it comes to describing me and every moment of my life!). Given a little bit of time and opportunity to get to know the person(s) involved, what is needed, and the general circumstances in which things will be played out, I can not only 'crack the nut' every time, I can usually do so to a level of exceptional success.

But without that little bit of analysis time, and faced with the hyperactive nonlistening spaz (totally unbiased description! :wink: ) then I am screwed, and on a few occasions my inability to resolve it has led to setbacks, not because the spaz "won," but because they generated enough kerfluffle that extra time/energy were required to put their fire out, which means that other things were neglected or damaged along the way.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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17 Mar 2010, 3:25 pm

NorthernLights wrote:
. . . The only kind of person who I absolutely have never been able to 'crack' in the management dept is the kind of person who I regard as the hyperactive impatient know it all . . .

You mean, for example, if you're trying to explain how to administer a particular medication or what to watch for, this person might impatiently say "SoGiveMrHarrisABC" (and of course they even talk fast!), that kind of thing?



NorthernLights
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17 Mar 2010, 3:53 pm

Yes....the person too busy with his or her own thoughts or ideas to pay attention to whatever s/he should be attending to at the moment.

Even more maddening is when s/he arrives on the scene and starts "fixing" or telling everyone how to fix Problem A,B,C without taking time to sit down/shut up and make an effort to understand how/why something is the way that it is, etc. People who think that the only thing standing between resolving something and not-resolving something is/was the fact that They had not yet arrived on the scene are the kind of people who I absolutely cannot deal with except to clam up and walk away, mainly because what I would say and how I would say it would only serve to turn me into an object of attention/correction.

Also, as an INTJ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INTJ) I am definitely one of those people who almost instantly gets what is happening--I just don't feel the need to let everyone else know that I get it. I'm very selective in my speech and in my actions, personally and professionally, and I go out of my way to treat everyone with respect, even people with whom I disagree or who I frankly detest. For this reason, in fact, I am frequently accused of being either passive-aggressive or being someone with an explosive temper...and really, I'm neither. What I am is perhaps not loud/clear enough with my warnings in the lead-up to a given confrontation.

Anyhow, my style has earned me praise, admiration, loyalty, and respect from more than 90 percent of the people I've come into contact with professionally, and in the field that I'm in, that's no small number of people. I only cite the INTJ 'thing' because in my particular case it is an absolute blueprint for how I am and where I'm coming from as an 'operator.' I most certainly do not subscribe to the notion that everyone fits his/her MB profile, and I know that it is normal for people to change/morph over time.

BUT....

I freely admit that I have yet to develop any kind of solution to the problem of the loudmouth spaz,, and I'm starting to think that I never will. I'm willing to accept that... :wink:



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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19 Mar 2010, 9:23 pm

NorthernLights wrote:
. . . Even more maddening is when s/he arrives on the scene and starts "fixing" or telling everyone how to fix Problem A,B,C without taking time to sit down/shut up and make an effort to understand how/why something is the way that it is, etc. . .

So ,it sounds like this person thinks their bullshit is better than someone else's diamonds!

And it also sounds like this is another doctor, so you are then in the position of coaching the coach, and that can be tricky.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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19 Mar 2010, 9:39 pm

NorthernLights wrote:
. . . Also, as an INTJ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INTJ) . . .

Somewhere I read that an INTJ likes to come up with ideas that he or she can implement or see implemented, hopefully improve things at least a medium amont, and then move onto something new (without necessarily feeling the need to milk the first idea to the max).

And that's me and writing! Which is one reason I think I'd really enjoy journalism (if only the number of paid positions were growing rather than contracting).



Merle
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07 Apr 2010, 5:55 pm

lotuspuppy wrote:
Has anyone here ever managed employees? How many? Since Asperger's presents unique communication problems, what strategies did you use to delegate tasks? Was it rewarding, or did you hate every minute of it?


Yes. 20? About 6 in India, 3 in Texas and 8 in California, then there were the odd lots of interns and contractors.

The best strategy I found was to have the employees (it's a team remember!) suggest ideas and allow them the time/flexibility to work on those. Yes, there's day-to-day tasks which need to be done, but people don't mind those as much if they know they can do the things they want IF they finish those tasks. If you get off on a power trip and think you're going to be telling people how things work - employees have way more time to screw with you and your schedules (and to think up excuses) than you do to try and keep track of things.

Totally rewarding, both for me and the employees. As a leader, you should expect to set the example and to do what you expect of your employees. If you come in late, don't expect them to come in early. The managers understand the role of their employees and can help ensure they have proper guidance (for career advancement) and time (so as to not burn out).

If you're too good at buffering upper management from your employee, they may take you for granted (so invite them into a meeting or two), and you can't shield 100% of the time your employees from lack luster results. But don't leave your guys out to dry, it's not right and they're not geared for it.

Quote:
I am considering starting a business of my own one day. Most of the work I can only do myself, but I may need employees down the road to help me with administration. What do you guys think about employees?


In a small business, you will be expected to know how every detail of the operation works (which is good). The plus side is that you can and should be able to pick up the slack. However, the motivation of you as a small business owner (profit) is much different from a manager in a corporate environment.

If you want to give it a go, try to hire a few guys for some menial landscaping work. Very eye opening and should only cost you a few hundred dollars.



Francis
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11 Apr 2010, 8:58 am

I took a promotion once and had to manage 31 employees. I hated every minute of it and severely failed at it. After about 6 months, I applied for and took a demotion back to my old job. I am much more satisfied and happy in the engineering position.



kriskarnage
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11 Apr 2010, 11:36 am

I've managed a team before back in '06-07 for a janitorial contractor company. I had 6 people to watch over. The whole experience was awful though. The worst part of it though was when we lost the contracts of all the stores I was suppose to be in charge of, and getting laid off afterward. I never wanted to manage anything after that.