All too often we hear that the United States work-force…has a bad attitude! Supervisor and managers and administrators and CEO’s will exhort their staff to, ‘exhibit a good and sunny attitude…and many of their problems will be alleviated!’
As a former; supervisor and manager/administrator…I struggled with how to enhance the morale of my colleagues. I discovered, many of the anxieties and depressions and the general feeling of illness-in-the-organization…could be directly be attributed to staff, at all levels, who felt that they had no control of their work-life.
I have been a part of organizations that control virtually everything from the top down in the typical, military, hierarchal model.
When I began working for Southern Illinois University in October, 1978…I was immediately thrilled with my assignment of cleaning the General Accounting Building, Thalman Hall, with very little supervision. Once I had shown that I was gong to perform as a professional housekeeper…my supervisor moved on to other areas of his responsibility that required his attention. I, quickly, understood that I was in charge of my career destiny!
As a custodial crew leader, my foreman was more of a resource person than a supervisor of cleanliness…as I had that covered…and he respected that fact! My name spread throughout the organization as a supervisor that got the job done and who produced supervisors for my Building Service Worker ranks. I was both honored and humbled by this, gracious, compliment. But, I understood by the professional manner that my leaders treated me…that I was respected…that my opinion was valued…and that they were watching my positive progress!
As superintendent of Building Services…no one looked over my shoulder! The department achieved, much, more that the results that were expected by my leaders and they had nothing but words of praise for our accomplishments! By this time in my career I understood that no one was responsible for my success…if I did not work hard and strive for a fair and a diverse workplace where everyone could not only feel welcome…but at home!
Now…I have worked for more than one supervisor…who micro-managed me. I understand what it feels like to have my word…be meaningless! I have felt what it is like to be belittled and made fun of and criticized for attempting to perform my job in a professional manner!
A Board of Trustee member expounded, years ago, that civil service employees should be grateful to have a job.
Have you ever worked for someone who you knew was never going to trust your work product or your decision making ability or your professionalism…even when you asked them exactly how they wanted something done…and you, subsequently, performed the task, in question, exactly as they had instructed you?
Have you ever worked, countless, hours and neither asked for recompense nor reward…and had your supervisor reward you…with more work?
Have you ever had good ideas that you shared with your supervisor and they, in turn, robbed you of those ideas and portrayed them as their own…to their manager or administrator?
A Building Service Worker is a professional…and should be treated as one!
A Building Service Sub-foreman is a professional…and should be treated as one!
A Building Services Foreman is a professional…and should be treated as one!
Members of the clerical staff or the administrative staff or the Grounds staff…are dedicated professionals and when leaders are seeking to increase good attitudes they need to ensure that their people are empowered to perform their duties…not only professionally…but in an entrepreneurial manner!