How to Kill a Great Employee

Nov 12, 2020 9:36:20 AM

By: Peter Yates

During a recent webinar in our Effective Supervision program, one of our facilitators, Peter Yates, shared the following quote, and backed it up with this reflection on his experience as a supervisor.

“Nothing will kill a great employee faster than watching you tolerate a bad one”.

- Perry Belcher


Yatesy’s Reflection

“Thinking back, I was a young supervisor, probably 28. I had accepted a promotion from technician to Supervisor of the same crew and it was my first time as a Supervisor. Half of my team were permanent employees with the remainder being contract labourers.

“So, contractors being contractors, they’ll do anything for you. The host guys, not so….

“What I actually did – because I was really inexperienced, and nobody told me or warned me – was to lean on the contractors more. It was to the point where they were doing absolutely everything, and the host guys were doing nothing.

“That was my strategy as a supervisor to just get the work done.

“What happened over time – probably about six months – was the whole crew ended up like the host workers.

“I guess to summarise, what happened was that I flogged the really good workers because they were always there and willing.

“But they actually got to the point where they just joined the others and thought, “well, you can’t keep flogging us. We’re going to go to the other side, so you leave us alone.”

“So that was one of my key learnings as a very new, inexperienced supervisor.”

“I found this quote the other day on the internet and it rings true to me. Nothing will kill really good employees faster than watching the leader tolerate bad ones. So it's all about managing people.

Thinking about it all, I was a highly skilled technician and like most establishments, if you are a good worker you will make a great Supervisor, that is not necessarily the case. I don’t know of any other situation where an employee is given a new job without prior skills and training.


Click here to learn about our Effective Maintenance Supervision program, delivered through the Bluefield Academy.