This handbook was designed in an attempt to bring a commonality of direction to an organization that was scattered over 160,000 square miles.
At the time I ran a 600 man Woods Division for Scott Paper Company that operated a hundred miles on either side of the Alabama-Mississippi state line and stretched all the way north to Tennessee. The organization was marked by four or five man logging crews, boat crews, timber cruising groups, etc. that saw their supervisor once or twice a week and the situation required them to do something in person, at once, and we would thrash out the specific details of things later. As you can imagine, this called for a lot of self-starters, which we had, and had a great many people bossing five of six other folks, almost independently.
Industry, as well as the military, does a very poor job of training first line supervisors.
You got a good hardworking kid, a supervisory job comes open, you call him in, swear him in as a deputy, give him a slap on the back and a warm handshake and turn him loose, empowered but untrained and unlettered. Then if he screws the job up you go eat his ass out and run him off.
The wrong man got run off.
Being the boss is not the same as working, it requires a different set of skills, and we, as a society do a very poor job of teaching intermediate steps.
The Army can’t be bothered teaching a Captain how to be a Major. They spend all kinds of time and money teaching him how to be a Major General and only one in five thousand ever gets there. Industry is just as bad.
This book attempts, in simple words, to teach people to be first line supervisors. It does not address the next step, which is teaching people how to boss sub bosses. It is aimed at direct supervisors.
Its principle value is with young people.
A person turns forty, has risen a step or two in the hierarchy and his thought processes get fixed. Whatever his style, or lack of it may be, it got him there and he is most reluctant to change. A kid, stumbling along in his first job as supervisor can get a little something from this manual.
I have given it to hundreds of groups in Scott Paper Company, it is really the script of a presentation.
Invariably, after the session I will have a young person or two come up and say they liked it, they feel good about some of the things I said and then they say, “I wish my boss could hear that.”
And I invariably answer, “It was not meant for your Boss. It was meant for you. You can fix anything from you down.”
You get some funny looks, but you make a convert or two all along.
Industrial Relations (IR) people gather up n large bunches to hate the book. They say it is simplistic, smacks of paternalism, and I have been told it is a species of Confederate voodoo that only works with mush mouth supervisors and ignorant logging crews.
Strangely enough the lady IR types all like it.
I used it, encouraged all hands to do so, and used it in the Army as a matter of fact.
People have been making it work since David slew Goliath. It is that old.
David’s IR manager would have wanted to call a meeting rather than hunt up a rock for the sling, which may be why nobody pays any attention to IR managers.
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