As I walked into my new office I was feeling pretty apprehensive. This
was the first time that I’d actually entered the office as a supervisor.
The brick building was looming over the highway as I passed to make a
U-turn. I briefly closed my eyes at the stop sign and prayed “Lord give
me strength.” Yes, I’ve turned over that new leaf upon my arrival too.
I approached the building and buzzed in through the front door. As I
came up the stairs with my replacement a slightly awkward moment passed
where neither of us really knew what to say, but we eventually began
conversation. He showed me my new office and introduced me to a few of
the people that would be working for me. There was a stoic look of
apprehension on their faces the entire time we were introduced. I could
remember the thoughts that were running through their heads, mostly
because they’ve run through mine countless times when a new supervisor
arrived, or I was placed in a new office.
“Who is this new boss? Will he be patient, and understanding yet firm
when called upon? Will he stand up for me? Will he have any clue what
he’s doing in his position?”
I tried to push a smile and confidence through but I was assessing them
at the same time.
“Who are these people? Will they follow me? Will I be able to get them
to work effectively? Will they accept constructive criticism openly?”
Within my first few days at the job I noticed a feeling of gloom seemed
to be eminating from the entire unit. One of the benefits I had at my
last job was that I’d worked my way up from the bottom. Getting a few
promotions during my tenure there ensured that when I became a
supervisor I’d already created a reputation and knew how certain people
would react to me. I also knew how to motivate people.
I remembered something my dad told me once upon a time.
“Be you, let people feel the weight of who you are, and let them deal
Sound advice and solid wisdom from a man who spent 31 years in the same
organization as I am now in.
So that’s what I decided I’d do.
I think I’m a pretty fun guy. People always told me that I was a
completely different person at home than at work. I didn’t think that
this would work here. So my first step was to remove the “doom and
gloom” feeling that seemed to be eminating from the desks around mine.
The question of the day became, “how do I make this job fun?”
Well, you can’t make it fun for people that don’t want it to be fun.
However, do you remember the saying “smiles are contagious?” Not only
are they contagious from person to person, but they’re contagious from
situation to situation. My next goal was to make the atmosphere around
the actual work fun. I began a campaign to instill smiles on my guys
and gals. Eventually, over the course of about a month and a half, the
smiles migrated from simply when we were goofing around to when we were
doing the work.
I’m quite proud of the success I’ve had with my campaign of smiles.
Now, I recognize that wont work for everyone, in every situation, but it
worked for me. A happy worker is a productive worker.