Filed under: — Doug Contreras @ 4:50 am on
Early in my career when I was a plant manager, one of my line workers asked if she could meet with me. Ida came into my office after work and asked me, "Doug, why are you so angry all the time?" Both surprised and somewhat annoyed by the comment, I responded "What makes you think I’m angry?" She said "You never smile, you always walk around the plant with your arms folded and you only talk to us when something has gone wrong." With twice my years of wisdom and experience, Ida said, "the boss sets the tone. Everything you say and do affects our morale and how we work."

As I drove home that night and thought about it, Ida was right. I wore my responsibilities on my face never realizing it and the impact it had on the people I was leading. Determined to change, I thought about my workers and practiced smiling at myself in the mirror when I was shaving. I took my smile to work with me and began to make a daily practice of greeting each person in the plant. While I can’t say that I could quantify a change in performance and productivity, I am sure that this was an important step in building what turned out to be a highly effective team.

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