I remember one of the most profound learning experiences of my career.
I was in my early twenties and had been successful in securing a fairly senior management position in a hospital.
One of my responsibilities was to manage a team of six porters. They were all older than me - some of them over twice my age and between them they had many years of experience.
I was successful in securing extra money from my bosses to employ one extra porter on condition I introduced a night shift that would give 24 hour porter cover in the hospital.
These were the days before Excel spreadsheets! and I spent many hours at home and at work writing out in 'long hand' various alternative shift suggestions for the porters to consider.
Whatever I tried I couldn’t produce a satisfactory Rota. I was stuck!
George White - one of the older porters came into my office and asked what were all these huge sheets of paper on my desk. I explained my predicament and George - trying hard I am sure not to laugh - said he would have a try with the other porters.
Within an hour or two he was back with two or three options that the porters liked.
The messages to me that I have remembered for my entire career:
- Being called a 'manager' does not mean you are an expert in everything
- As a manager you really do not have to do everything
- The staff who do the work know the answers
- Don’t beat yourself up by battling alone - just ask for help
Just thought I would share that little story with you.