Shop Foreman's attitude toward other employees - What's crossing the line? - Page 5
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  1. #81
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    He needs to watch his (wording).
    I never had problems with a boss like 'Red' on that 70's show.
    I have told bosses ( while stepping on the toe of their shoe "You can cuss while talking to me. But, if you cuss at me, you better be able to whip my ass".

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    How do you guys feel about this type of language? I'll give you an example of a conversation that someone complained to me about recently:

    Bob - Uses a grinder to clean up a weldment, drops it on the floor when he's done.
    Foreman - "What the F*** do you think you're doing?! No wonder all of our F****** tools keep breaking, because you treat them like S***! If I catch you doing that S*** again I'm going to F****** send you home for the day!"
    Bob - "You can't talk to me like that!"
    Foreman - "Just get back to work!"
    Bob walks right into my office to complain.


    Sorry about that Bob.

    Yes I asked the forman to look out for damage to the power tools, there has been some damage lately that could be avoided.

    If you could be more careful in future that will keep him off your back.

    I will talk to the forman, he can be a bit abrupt at times.

    Or words to that effect....

    EDIT typo "off"





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    Quote Originally Posted by lionelt View Post
    How do you guys feel about this type of language? I'll give you an example of a conversation that someone complained to me about recently:

    Bob - Uses a grinder to clean up a weldment, drops it on the floor when he's done.
    Foreman - "What the F*** do you think you're doing?! No wonder all of our F****** tools keep breaking, because you treat them like S***! If I catch you doing that S*** again I'm going to F****** send you home for the day!"
    Bob - "You can't talk to me like that!"
    Foreman - "Just get back to work!"
    Bob walks right into my office to complain.


    Sorry about that Bob.

    Yes I asked the forman to look out for damage to the power tools, there has been some damage lately that could be avoided.

    If you could be more careful in future that will keep him off your back.

    I will talk to the forman, he can be a bit abrupt at times.

    Or words to that effect....

    EDIT typo "off"




    I would give some careful thought about turning this into an apology, especially up front. Instead, I would be inclined to begin by redirecting the complaining worker back to the incident. "Did you in fact drop the tool rather than set it down appropriately? Why did you do that?" If the worker wants to change subjects to the language, steer him back again. "The first thing I need to understand is what happened. Whatever the foreman's language was, my experience is that he doesn't blow up for no reason. Something happened. What was it?" And again, redirect: "I'll deal with the foreman's language at the appropriate time, but right now I'm talking to you, and that means that my focus is on what you did. What was it?"

    Keep pressing until it becomes clear to the worker that he is not wiggling out of this. Only after it is clear that the worker is in the wrong would I then say, "I will work with the foreman in terms of his language. But let me make it crystal clear: we cannot afford abuse of the tools. It has gotten so bad that I have asked the foreman to keep an eye out for it. I understand that you didn't care for the way the foreman expressed it; I hear that, and I am sorry that he used language that was offensive to you. Now make sure you hear me, and I won't use a single swear word: The next time this happens, you are out the door for a day. And if it happens again after that, you will be gone, permanently. Are we clear?"

    The above assumes, of course, that there is no doubt about the inappropriate actions of the worker. The classic way humans try to wiggle out of responsibility for their actions is to point to what someone else has done wrong - "triangulation," it is called. If we can divert the conversation to the foreman's misbehavior, get you to talk about him, force you to be defensive about him, then your case against me becomes wispy at best. But if you refuse to play the game, refuse to enter into the triangle, you can be as firm as steel while being just as nice as you want in your manner and language, and I can't wiggle out of it.

    And of course, document the incident carefully in case you need to follow through with the threats. And I would expect, based on the past culture of the shop that you have described, that you WILL need to follow through, and you WILL need to have your documentation all laid out, before some of the workers get the message that there really is a new culture, and we are not sliding back into the bad old habits after a few weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by awake View Post
    I would give some careful thought about turning this into an apology, especially up front. Instead, I would be inclined to begin by redirecting the complaining worker back to the incident. "Did you in fact drop the tool rather than set it down appropriately? Why did you do that?" If the worker wants to change subjects to the language, steer him back again. "The first thing I need to understand is what happened. Whatever the foreman's language was, my experience is that he doesn't blow up for no reason. Something happened. What was it?" And again, redirect: "I'll deal with the foreman's language at the appropriate time, but right now I'm talking to you, and that means that my focus is on what you did. What was it?"

    Keep pressing until it becomes clear to the worker that he is not wiggling out of this. Only after it is clear that the worker is in the wrong would I then say, "I will work with the foreman in terms of his language. But let me make it crystal clear: we cannot afford abuse of the tools. It has gotten so bad that I have asked the foreman to keep an eye out for it. I understand that you didn't care for the way the foreman expressed it; I hear that, and I am sorry that he used language that was offensive to you. Now make sure you hear me, and I won't use a single swear word: The next time this happens, you are out the door for a day. And if it happens again after that, you will be gone, permanently. Are we clear?"

    The above assumes, of course, that there is no doubt about the inappropriate actions of the worker. The classic way humans try to wiggle out of responsibility for their actions is to point to what someone else has done wrong - "triangulation," it is called. If we can divert the conversation to the foreman's misbehavior, get you to talk about him, force you to be defensive about him, then your case against me becomes wispy at best. But if you refuse to play the game, refuse to enter into the triangle, you can be as firm as steel while being just as nice as you want in your manner and language, and I can't wiggle out of it.

    And of course, document the incident carefully in case you need to follow through with the threats. And I would expect, based on the past culture of the shop that you have described, that you WILL need to follow through, and you WILL need to have your documentation all laid out, before some of the workers get the message that there really is a new culture, and we are not sliding back into the bad old habits after a few weeks.

    This...because if you aren't backing him when he chops them down for crappy behavior, you are part of the problem.

    The swearing is unnecessary and unprofessional. If he has any intention of climbing to a role above where he's at now, it's also a deal killer. What is necessary, is management that supports his supervisory decisions.

    My concerns are multifold. You have described him as short tempered. So what's going to happen when the smartass employee figures out that they can swear right back at him, without wandering in to insubordination territory. Is it going to push him over the edge? Then you have a lawsuit.

    The other concern is that it's rare that I've met someone who swears at people, that isn't also unpredictable. Is he pissed about the grinder because he just saw the bill for 10 new grinders, and his response is proportionally increased, unbeknownst to the employee? That is the definition of toxic. If the employee, and the history of misbehaviors and responses, don't match the outburst, then it's toxic. The line of expectations has to be clear, with clear expectation of punishment. If Bob is pissed because he can't make his car payment and he takes it out on his crew, he's a toxic asshole. If Bob is pissed because his crew are a bunch of morons and are working like slugs because they slept in the car after spending the night at the bar, then it's predictable.

    But as manager, you have to back Bob if you want the guys to respect his authority. If you can't do that, you've got to let him go, because otherwise, the power struggle will remain.

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    I take this example as typical of management wimping out of backing up a foreman........its real easy to be a weak ,gutless ,nice guy,when you arent dealing continuously with all the riff raff that the office employ for whatever reason.....a lot of managers are book engineers,and live in a dream world of nice people doing the right thing.......then the owner chews them out over extravagant tool replacement costs......so they transfer the whinge to the foreman......with threats like bad quarterly review,etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    I take this example as typical of management wimping out of backing up a foreman.......
    The foreman or front line supervisor job is a thankless and high pressure task.
    Both side are against you on one point or the other or one day or the other.
    In larger places the turnover is very high, I'd think 4-10 times any other company position.
    The pressure and frustrations makes most all break and go off at some time. I know I have.
    You have to stand firmly behind whoever you put in this position, you also have to coach them down a bit sometimes along with think about why they apply more force than needed in some cases.
    The majority of people really don't want to be assholes but you can breed this into a organization.

    The foreman is a the foreman even if he is rough around the edges. Now it becomes the job of those above to make him into a good foreman.
    Feedback from the floor is always biased, skewed, and sometimes junk but good input. It helps you help him and you.
    Deep down, nobody really likes the boss one step above them.
    My last part of a set intro to a crew as foreman/super was "We can all work together, but I will guarantee you that there will come a day when you will go home cursing my name".
    Bob

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    Funny thing,when I ran my own business,I used to get real angry when somthing broke shouldnt have ,or went missing...........but when I got a job as a foreman,the same thing didnt really concern me ,I never got upset,never yelled,not even when a dumb kid thought he could ride a big stack of 4" pipe that started rolling......I thought after....he could have been sucked in and crushed very likely,but I didnt really care......just had an official word with the manager about training the crane driver not to make big stacks of pipes.....must say,that surprised me,and still does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    My last part of a set intro to a crew as foreman/super was "We can all work together, but I will guarantee you that there will come a day when you will go home cursing my name".
    Bob
    Many years ago, I was working in a shop with a real a$$hole for a foreman.
    During my time there, he suffered a massive heart attack, right on the shop floor.

    As they were rolling him out of the building on a stretcher, the workers started cheering.

    I was so embarrassed to even witness it.
    EDIT:
    That foreman seemed to act like this:
    Emperor of the North Pole - Wikipedia
    Last edited by digger doug; 04-16-2019 at 09:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Many years ago, I was working in a shop with a real a$$hole for a foreman.
    During my time there, he suffered a massive heart attack, right on the shop floor.

    As they were rolling him out of the building on a stretcher, the workers started cheering.

    I was so embarrassed to even witness it.
    That is over board, but decades ago I do remember not shedding any tears when the night shift plant manager who I had daily battles with died of a heart attack over the weekend. He was nothing but a freaking hall monitor. I was a working leadman, but was in charge of a department of about two dozen people. Ray could never help with a real problem but was great at reminding me when one of my guys came back a minute late from break or walked a step past the yellow line before putting his safety glasses on. He got where he was through ass kissing, back stabbing and politics.

    A good example of Ray was when a woman walking the aisle on the border of our department slipped and fell bouncing her head off of the concrete. Since she was coming back from dinner Ray was in his typical position making sure everyone got back to their work area on time and saw her fall. As I told her to stay down and put my lab jacket under her head while telling someone to go get the nurse, Ray's first reaction was to check her feet for proper footwear. He also managed to leave out the fact she slipped in oil coming from the injection molding room in his incident report. I may not of cheered if Ray had his heart attack at work and left on a stretcher, but I probably could not have stopped myself from smiling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jackal View Post
    He needs to watch his (wording).
    I never had problems with a boss like 'Red' on that 70's show.
    I have told bosses ( while stepping on the toe of their shoe "You can cuss while talking to me. But, if you cuss at me, you better be able to whip my ass".

    Excellent point. Bosses who regularly curse at their employees should also be prepared to take a fist in their face on occasion as they should realize that this may create a lingering resentment which, in some individuals, may be difficult, nay impossible, to control.

    But, hey, yelling and screaming is a good management style and it shows the owner that you are a "take charge" kind of a guy.


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    There are no differences between work done in the woods, at an office desk or on a machine shop floor. It is disrespectful to bark around, yell at somebody like in a casern, utter nasty words. I have had many occasions to get upset and I did get angry at people often. Sometimes I was right but it wouldn’t help me further a nanometer.

    It takes nerves to keep a cool temper when bad things happen. Maybe privileged by age can I connive at things now. A well managed enterprise is equipped with younger and older workers. The elder can take care of the young in the sense of calming down but also with their life experience. I have kept a good memory of two of my teachers, who were in their sixties, they always kept temper and showed me how the rabbit runs, as the saying goes here.

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    Since I got a few likes on the Ray the night shift plant manager story I will add the final chapter. As we all know second shift employees back in the day were dirt and slaves to the day shift. On second I was a working leadman, if on days I would have been the department supervisor. Anyway, between my fellow night shift leads one owned a restaurant on the side and brought Ray nightly meals, the other brought him a box of doughnuts every other day before the start of shift. Both those guys came to me the Monday after talking about Ray with tears in their eyes. I had to hold back from laughing in their faces. I just said "Sorry for your loss, but as you know Ray and I never got along."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    I just said "Sorry for your loss, but as you know Ray and I never got along."
    And continue with "So where are My donuts ?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    Since I got a few likes on the Ray the night shift plant manager story I will add the final chapter. As we all know second shift employees back in the day were dirt and slaves to the day shift. On second I was a working leadman, if on days I would have been the department supervisor. Anyway, between my fellow night shift leads one owned a restaurant on the side and brought Ray nightly meals, the other brought him a box of doughnuts every other day before the start of shift. Both those guys came to me the Monday after talking about Ray with tears in their eyes. I had to hold back from laughing in their faces. I just said "Sorry for your loss, but as you know Ray and I never got along."

    So... was he the asshole you said, or were these guys just suck-ups? Doesn't make sense...

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    I thought that they were going to say that "It took us 5 years of greasy burgers and deep fried dog nuts, but we finally got him!"

    I guess I saw this story headed a differ'nt direction...


    -------------------------

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    Ox

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    So... was he the asshole you said, or were these guys just suck-ups? Doesn't make sense...
    They were sucking up to the asshole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    We had a mild manor guy who was a decent worker. His boss would verbally abuse him every day. On day the mild manor guy just picked up a slip yoke casting and bashed the bosses head in.. Boss lived but never got sharp enough to works again..
    Some day that boss may get his come-up-ins.

    I cant remember what happened to the mild manor guy.

    Guess if I was that bosses boss I would tell him to shape up or ship out.
    Yikes man you posted this before so I'm guessing it really happened, holy s**t ! In this day and age there would of been jail time. Up here in wonderful Québec Canada we have the CNSST ( sort of like OSHA ) and there would of been serious shit from the outset of the verbal abuse going forward. Bully's pick on kind people until they can't..

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    Please, would have, not would of. What an Englisch!

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    Many, many years ago I experienced a foreman that treated all in his department like sh't to put it diplomatically. I never could understand why until one day I saw him with his wife shopping. She "talked" to him as he talked to his people. All I heard him say was "Yes dear" and "No dear".

    If nothing else it helped me understand why he was as he was. Nobody is born an ass. There's always a reason.

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    You have a loose cannon and you might not be able to predict that person. I saw this from a large employer prospective. You ought to limit your liability. However, I do think you need to teach people skills and demand everyone act as a professional.

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