- Manager # 1 spent spare moments recycling paper into notepads to save money.
- Manager #2 made tea every morning for the tellers.
Neither one of these things seems remotely related to their job description.
I was a trainee in Manager1's branch, and I asked the guy I was training with about this strange behavior. He thought it was kind of a waste of time, since notepads didn't cost much money. The manager thought he was setting a good example. However, thinking about this years later, here's what is so obvious to me:
When your shop is that busy, you can do one more deal every day and more than make up for the expense of a notepad or two.
This was a busy location. Staff had trouble keeping up. What on earth was the lead guy doing fussing with stationery? He could certainly have asked other people to do this, but probably thought he shouldn't waste the time of expensive staff. So instead, he wasted his own time.
I was the area manager for Manager #2 (i.e. her boss). So I asked her about the tea. She told me that one teller invariably disappeared at the start of the shift to make tea for everyone, meaning she didn't have everyone rolling when the doors opened. She had thought about making it an issue, but decided that she wanted to save those kinds of disputes for something truly important. Like sales and service results.
The message here was clear, actually. First, that having everyone working when the doors open is important enough that the manager will spend a few minutes making sure it happens. And second, that making the staff happy was important. Servant leadership.
Everyday life calls for these decisions
Whether you are leading a group of volunteers or a staff of hundreds, understand that every action you take sends a message. Where you spend your time. Where you spend money. Where you don't spend time. Where you don't spend money.
What message are you sending these days?