Does A Supervisor Really Matter?

BlackBerry 8800 (Cingular Version)

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Today was very interesting.  I was out to lunch with a previous employee of mine when my BlackBerry started to go nuts.  Being that I hadn’t seen this person in a while I simply ignored the incoming calls and figured I would get my voice mails later.  I soon realized that all these calls were coming from people I had worked with at my last job and thought it was weird but put it out of mind.  We wrapped up our lunch and went on our way with me totally forgetting about all the messages on my phone.

About 20 minutes after lunch I received a call from the person I had been dining with.  They asked, “Are you ok? What happened?”  I was confused and asked what they were talking about.  They stated that they had received a text from someone that I had a heart attack and was in the hospital.  They were confused when they got the text because they had just been with me.  All of a sudden it hit me that I had a lot of messages on my phone and put 2 plus 2 together.  Some how someone at my old shop had heard I had a heart attack and the word was spreading fast.

I got hold of one of the folks that had called and you could hear the concern in their voice when they answered.  I assured them that I was fine and didn’t know how the information got out but thanked them for their concern.  After a couple more phone calls the story came together.  A previous employee of mine owns a floral shop with their wife and had received an order for flowers for “Kevin Hoag” in Holland Hospital.  When they got to work they shared the news with their team mates.  One of them called up to the hospital and actually talked to “my son” for a while never realizing that it wasn’t me in the hospital.  All of a sudden it made sense.

My heart and prayers are going out for the “Kevin” that is in the hospital.  He is going through something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  On the other hand, in a way it really made my day to know that in a “time of need” that I would have so much support from people I had worked with in the past.  In today’s world of Facebook, Tweeting and cell phones it doesn’t take long for word to travel and it was quite refreshing to find out that people can connect in an instant for a positive effort even if just kind words and sharing of prayers.

I just started a new job and one of the things I had discussed with my wife was that I was really going to try to stay “absolutely professional” with my team members.  That I was going to try to keep our relationships on a business level unlike what I have done in the past when I have gotten to know about their lives and families.  My reasoning was simple, I didn’t care about the company when I was let go but the loss of all the friendships I had made was a tough pill to swallow.  If I keep it “all business” then I won’t allow myself to feel the hardship when those relationships are taken away.

Today put my mind right again.  I can’t help but care about my team members and what is going on in their lives.  That’s just the way I am and if I do anything other than that then I am not going to truly enjoy my job.  Let’s face it, when you lead a team of people for 12 hours a day, you can’t help but get to know and care about them.  And really, what is wrong about caring for the people you work with?  In order to be a good coach, you need to know your people.  What motivates them.  What challenges they are having.  What makes them tick and if you don’t take the time to understand them you are not going to be truly successful in coaching them.

So this Friday when I go back into work, I am going to make sure to take the time to talk with my team members and really get to know them.  After all, they’re the ones I count on daily to get the job done and I owe it to them!

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2 Responses to Does A Supervisor Really Matter?

  1. Deb says:

    first off, I was soooo releaved to learn it was’t you in the hospital. I heard about it on my way to my sisters when I called in to check in on a couple of things that were in the works when I left. When I saw your facbook posting that it wasn’t you in the hospital- despite the time of night, I called the other Deb to let her know you were OK. I don’t think either of us would have slept well other wise–Deb squared were very releaved.

    Relation ships / freindships you make in business don’t always go away when circumstances change, those relationships change but they remain. You may not realize one thing from this incident….you had the privilage of learning the impact you had on people that worked for and with you that they cared enough to be so concerned for you. Not everyone has that privilage. You didn’t know have the honor of knowing Doug DeRoo..Doug was a work team leader on the flipper line…Doug was one of the nicest people I had ever met. always had a good story, a great sense of humor and his team loved him..tragiclly Doug was killed in a car accident on his way home from work. His sudden death impacted not just his family but the team who worked for him…his work family. The one thing I have often thought was Doug passed never knowing how many lives he had touched over the years just by being the fun loving, caring person he was (I hope that description sounds familar, as you fit that discription). I know he would have be shocked at how many people gathered in the spine the morning after he died for a memorial service and prayer for Doug and his family, he simply didn’t realize the impact he had on people. From this incident you know or have an idea of how many lives you have touched, value it, treasure it…not everyone gets to learn that lesson while they are alive and able to appreciate it.

    You have always had that rare quality of being interested and concerned about the welfare of your team members and co workers and still be able to see the needs of the business, even when those business needs/decisions were not always the best ones for the individuals impacted. That is a quality to be valued and treasured-don’t ever lose it.

  2. Linda Bailey says:

    Kevin, you are a remarkable person. If it had not been for you, I would not be attending Davenport. No matter where you go you will succeed.

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