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The Story of Michael, the Production Manager (Part I)

Better Employees Plant Manager
September 26, 2021 at 9:00 a.m.

By Better Employees. 

How and how not to promote someone without leadership experience into a leadership position.

Michael, who had 20 years of experience in the installation and operation of production plants, was hired by a company that was having great growth.

He had two years of experience working on the planning and installation of the new production lines, while also being in charge of the operation of the production plant.

But now was the time to hire staff to supervise the new production lines. He had been looking for someone with experience, but he had not been able to find anyone, and he was already feeling the pressure because he needed someone to take over one area of production while he kept working on pending projects.

The general manager of the plant suggested to Michael that he promote someone within the company to be a supervisor. 

Michael had been watching and considering Juan, one of the plant operators, to promote to be a supervisor of a production area. 

Juan was a Latino immigrant who had worked for the company for over 10 years. He was a responsible person - a hardworking and enthusiastic employee who did his job very well, was punctual, and had rarely failed at his job. In addition, Juan had a lot of technical experience and was one of the operators with the most knowledge of the handling of the machines and the production operations. 

Michael decided to offer Juan this leadership position. 

While Juan was happy about the opportunity, he was hesitant to take on this responsibility as he did not know how to manage employees, especially his friends and former colleagues. 

Michael dedicated a few hours to teach Juan how to prepare some necessary reports in his supervisor position. 

A few weeks after Juan was promoted to supervisor, the production manager (Michael) began to hear various complaints from the employees about the behavior and preferences that Juan now had as a supervisor - that Juan was aggressive towards some employees and tolerant towards others. 

He also saw that Juan did not know how to communicate effectively. 

Now Michael was spending a lot of time fixing the production problems and conflicts that Juan was causing in his department. 

In fact, Michael came to think that he had been wrong in promoting Juan to a leadership position, and he felt that he had lost a good employee and obtained a bad leader. 

Michael also realized that he had not given Juan the necessary professional training in supervision and leadership. 

Although he was spending many hours talking with Juan about how to be a better leader, he felt that he was not getting a good result. 

In addition, he was not doing other very important and more profitable projects for the company. 

Michael ran the numbers on what was costing the company, and saw that he had created problems such as losing his time dealing with problems caused by Juan, and the time trying to teach him how to be a better leader, in addition to other indirect costly problems that were caused due to the poor leadership from Juan, such as: 

  • Low productivity 

  • Loss of good employees due to Juan's management style 

  • Errors in production 

  • Complaints from some customers about the quality of the products 

  • A possible lawsuit by two employees who complained about Juan 

By estimating these costs and potential lawsuits, he realized that Juan could cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and that he had to do something immediately. 

The options he saw were: 

  • Return Juan to his original position and start looking again for an experienced supervisor 

  • Look for another employee within the company who could be promoted 

But Michael also thought that he could be starting from scratch by doing any of the above, and that perhaps the same thing that happened with Juan could happen again. 

So, Michael and the HR manager researched and found what seemed a great solution...   
Stay tuned for part II (the solution) coming soon! 
Learn more about Better Employees in their RoofersCoffeeShop® Directory or visit www.betteremployees.net.

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