Assistant administrator Elias Woods asked, “What makes Wade a problem?

The dedIcaTed hIp-shooTer

Primary Topic—Employee Problems and Problem Employees

Additional Topics—Communication; Delegation; Motivation

“We’re not a really large organization as maintenance departments go,” said plant engineering manager Dan Stevens, “and because of our size I don’t have real full- time supervisors in the different sections. Rather, we use working leaders, people who do lots of the work themselves and supervise maybe two to five others. My problem is Bob Wade, the lead electrician, who has to manage two other electricians and a helper in addition to looking after his own workload.”

Assistant administrator Elias Woods asked, “What makes Wade a problem? The guy has spent most of this life here and he lives and breathes for this place. He treats every last circuit and device around here like it was his child.”

Woods shrugged and added, “If a person with Wade’s dedication is a problem, I can say only that we need a few more problems around here.”

“I’m not questioning Bob’s intentions at all,” said Stevens. “I know he’s incred- ibly dedicated to this place.”

“So?” “So he’s still a problem, even though he’s an outstanding electrician,” Stevens

answered. “He’s a working boss—emphasis on working. He pays most attention to what he—personally—is doing at the moment, and there’s no apparent rhyme or reason to how his task of the moment is chosen. There’s no visible organization in the group. Anything that comes up—well, Wade just shoots from the hip. Jobs get done well, but all the group’s efforts seem haphazardly applied, there are always problems and complaints—especially complaints about things that need attention—and except for Bob himself, nobody seems to know what to work on at any given time.

“I’d truly like to know,” Stevens added, “how to get this guy and his group focused on the job they’re supposed to be doing.”


Put yourself in the position of the assistant administrator and suggest how Dan Stevens might begin to turn around Bob Wade and the electrical group and make them more efficient and productive.

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