Sunday, April 6, 2014

A great boss: yet another ripple

I've mentioned this before, but when I worked selling plastic to the meat industry (c1995) it was pretty normal to have the senior people of very large customers screaming at you for problems of their own making.
In this shitfest I had a boss called Rod Davis, and he made it all bearable. He'd have people screaming at him (inside the company and out) about me, but would deal with me in a pretty level headed manner.  It takes a lot to hear "go sack that yound prick you've got working for you!" And then go to that person and say "we have to do something about [Frank] he's pretty unhappy". And yes, sometimes it would be my fault too.

By the time we'd got seven years into it, the situation with Rod and myself became a bit fractious but on reflection it was always Rod who held the high ground. It was a great chance to see how the best managers - managers of people - operate. Rod had problems with his heart and the last I heard it was hard going. I hope he's still around and thriving; I like him and all his family. Rod is truly what the "Dave Singleman" Death of a Salesman funeral was modeled on.

And so I take the slightest essence of this guy into the stuff I do. Chatting with an internship student to a tricky situation with a client - "I get the feeling this was weighing pretty heavily on you, don't panic". I hope I can bring the slightest sense of how well this stuff can be done - with all my examples from outside the university sector.

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