Who’s the Alpha?

Topic: Positioning for power
Industry: Remanufactured components
Location: South Central U.S.

It is all about power. Heard the phrase “alpha dog”? It deals with which dog will be the dominant one in the pack. Mike’s experience would say the same is true at work. Mike is in his late 20’s and just became the supervisor of a machinist group. One of the men in the group is in his mid-30’s and has assumed the stereotype “biker look.” A loner with wild hair, tatoos, leather, rough beard, imposing attitude. It is a daily procedure in the shop for each person to do an examination of their equipment according to a checklist and then initial each item inspected. Mr. Biker did not initial his sheet. When Mike brought this to his attention, Mr. Biker marked through the whole page with a swing of his pen…saying in effect “this is stupid, I don’t agree, and stick it.” Mike drew a breath and then said, “Each item needs your initial.” “You can write me up,” was the response. Knowing that this was his moment of truth, Mike said “Fine,” and proceeded to write Mr. Biker up for insubordination and presented it to him. Before shift the next morning, Mr. Biker shows up in Mike’s office with head down. “I am so sorry for how I behaved towards you. I don’t know what got into me. It won’t happen again.” After that, all if fine with Mr. Biker, no problems and he works hard. Go figure! When the line has been drawn in the sand, stand firm and do your job…it is amazing the results when you become the boss.

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