I spend roughly 40% of my working life on the shopfloor.
Another 40% in the classroom. And maybe 20% in meetings.
That equates to 3 or 4 hours per day on the shopfloor, working with Teams, Team Leaders and various support functions.
And one of the main sources of criticism is aimed at 'them'.
'They have no clue what goes on down here and what we have to put up with' etc.
There are many variations on this theme but the gist is the same throughout.
Now, individual Managers often leave a lot to be desired.
They are no different to anyone else - they sometimes end up in positions they have no business in.
They occasionally allow the authority their position gives them to go to their head.
But mostly, just like the rest of us, they're simply trying to do their best.
In classroom settings, when this issue comes up I find myself saying something like the following:
'If, by some miracle, this business was handed over to you guys tomorrow, the very first thing you would have to decide would be who's in charge.
Don't believe that some utopian miracle would kick in and you'd all be able to make decisions by committee. People don't work like that.
Someone would have to have the final say.
And within a month you'd be running the place exactly as it's being run now because, all other things being equal, this is the best way to run it with the people, skills, knowledge and resources available to you.
And other people would be calling you 'them'. And you'd be asking for my help the way this management team is.'
Unless we establish a culture where the shopfloor teams work in collaboration with the management to make the most of what they've got.
Which requires everyone showing a little trust in everyone else's desire to make this a better place to work.
Sometimes all it takes is giving each other the benefit of the doubt.
Not easy, based on our current environment - everything is someone's fault.
But blame never accomplished anything good, did it?