HR Lesson: Step Back

by Frank Roche on January 24, 2011

in Management

“Can you believe this? The train in front of us all but broken down and they’re making us follow them,” said the conductor.

That was Friday night on the R5. My train arrived late. I found out why when we pulled out of 30th Street — we were behind a limping train. One that was in terrible shape.

We were running at 25% of our normal speed.

‘We radioed them. Told them at HQ that they could let those people off and take that train to the yard. Yeah, they’re the ones with the college degrees, but they can’t make a decision among themselves,” said the conductor.

He knew what to do. So did the engineer. They had a simple plan: Let the people off at a platform in front of us and get the people on our train. Then take the limping train to the yard and we could run at full speed. Easy.

But it’s never easy when management thinks they know better.

Here’s an HR lesson: Learn to step back. Your people know how to get things done. Listen to them. Learn to let go. Maybe you’ll learn something.

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