I’ve long had a conflicted view of leadership. On the one hand I’m completely confident making decisions. I know I’m as smart as anybody, and I do a better job than most people of listening to the evidence and making unbiased decisions. On the other hand I don’t like telling people what to do. I don’t like conflict. I don’t like being bossy. I like being liked. On the gripping hand I don’t really want to do the same job for the next 20 years, and it’s hard to change jobs from where I am without either a pay cut or the word “supervisor” attached to your job description.
So after applying for the Shift supervisor position once and having it disappear and re-appear under someone other than me, I went back to my comfortable job confident that eventually the job would open up again and be mine… I just didn’t expect things to move quite so quickly.
I showed up to work and was told that my supervisor was switching to a different crew, and that I would be moving up from Control Room Operator to shift sup. My first official act was to counter-mand the night’s shift assignment left by my so recent boss to put our shift’s (albiet very junior) CRO on the board and move the guy on OT to cover me onto the floor. This projected my confidence in the guy I had trained, and kept a familiar voice on the radio for my crew… And it felt right.
The next set of shifts came and for the most part things ran themselves on momentum. Most shifts the guys do their rounds and work their list and who’s in charge doesn’t impact them… My second real act as leader was to schedule a paper-airplane contest. This put my personality on the crew for the first time. This showed them that we are allowed to have fun… And importantly, this let me throw a paper-airplane of the 17th floor of the boiler which I’d been tempted to do for around 6 years now.