Good Cop Bad Cop

Mar 4 21:40 2005 Stephen Bucaro Print This Article

Are you a manager who's wondering why other departmentmanagers don't have the same personnel problems you have?Are you a supervisor whose manager thinks you can't controlthe workers under you? In this article, I reveal atechnique used by shrewd managers and their supervisors tomaximize the performance of the personnel in theirdepartment.

- Note,Guest Posting if your rank is below the supervisory level, pleasediscontinue reading this article. This information is formanagers and supervisors eyes only.

First, let's put a foundation under the information youabout to receive.

- The most difficult, complex, and critical resource tocontrol in any organization is not the business process,not the materials, not the technology ... it's the people.People are much more complicated to deal with than even themost advanced technology. The biggest budget item for anybusiness is labor costs and the cost of employee benefits.A business that doesn't get maximum performance from theirpeople resources has little chance of survival.

- If you are a manager who thinks you have the power inyour department, let me educate you right now - the workerscan make or break you. The workers have the power in yourdepartment. I have seen a situation where the departmentsupervisor and manager didn't get along. The supervisorconspired with the workers to make the manager look bad.Eventually, the manager was fired.

As a manager, if you don't have rapport and complete trustin your supervisor, you had better sit down with thatindividual and come to an understanding, or get rid of themimmediately. A manager and supervisor must work togetherlike a well oiled machine or the employees, not the manager,will be running the department.

Where the manager and supervisor fit into the organizationalstructure.

A manager looks after the interests of the company. Thecompany allocates resources to the manager and the manageruses those resources to accomplish the company's objectives.A manager needs to be diligent in the use of the company'sresources.

A manager might say to the workers, "Tardiness andabsenteeism are too high in this department. We are goingto start issuing reprimands to anyone with an unexcusedabsence or anyone who comes in late for work. There arealso too many mistakes coming out of this department and ifthe work doesn't improve, someone will be fired."

A supervisor develops a rapport with, and looks after theinterests of, the workers. The supervisor becomes coach,protector, friend, and nurturer of the workers. Asupervisor needs to be diligent in the use of the workersphysical and emotional resources.

A supervisor might say to the workers,"The company is on atangent to come down on anybody who misses work or comes inlate, so I'm asking everyone to make an extra effort to getto work on time until this blows over. They have also beencomplaining about a few mistakes we made, so can anyonethink of a way we can double check our work to keep themoff our back?"

What goes on behind closed doors.

It seems like the manager is a stern taskmaster, while thesupervisor is a good, kind person. But behind closed doors,the manager and the supervisor have conspired together andare playing that familiar game "bad cop, good cop", wherethe "bad cop" threatens and intimidates the suspect, whilethe "good cop" sympathizes with and befriends the suspect.

The manager is feeding the supervisor all the insideinformation about the organization and company's objectives.The supervisor is feeding the manager all the insideinformation about the workers' problems and performanceissues. Together, they formulate a plan to get maximumperformance from the workers and meet the company'sobjectives.

The supervisor might say to the manager, "I'll tell Bettythat I explained to you about her personal problems, butyou said if she misses one more day of work you'll fire her."

The manager might say to the supervisor, "Start packingsome of the equipment we don't use every day, but if anyoneasks, say it hasn't been decided yet if our department isgoing to move to Ohio."

Out on the floor.

The workers are performing well because their supervisoris a good guy who understands their personal problems andlooks after their interests. Occasionally, the supervisorhas to deliver some bad news to the workers, but it's notthe supervisor's fault. Blame it on the "bad cop" manager.

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Stephen Bucaro
Stephen Bucaro

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