The plodder has shown unusual initiative.
Recognition may be the incentive needed to pull
that person out of a rut.
The capable, dependable member always does a
good job. Recognition communicates your
awareness of and your appreciation for that
For whatever reason recognition is given, it must be
honest. The member usually knows when performance
has been satisfactory and when it has not. Regardless of
whether the job is good or bad, say so. If for some reason
it happens to be bad, say why. Indiscriminate flattery can
be as bad as no recognition. After all, if the member gets
a pat on the back for every jobgood or badwhere is
the incentive to do a good job?
Improving teamwork as a supervisor involves
helping team members avoid mistakes without
interfering with their performance. One way to help
prevent mistakes is to make a constant check of every
job as it is being done. A better way is to assign members
to jobs only after you feel they are capable of doing the
work. Then check completed work as a regular
procedure, and make sure members know that you check
it. That will enable you to detect any errors so that you
can reintroduce policies and procedures needed to help
members avoid carelessness.
Earlier in this chapter, we discussed how PN1
Seaman demonstrated this type of supervision in the
example of the expired ID card. He did not interfere as
his coworkers tackled the problem and identified the
cause. When he saw that the best solution had not been
found, he gave PN3 Doe an opportunity to ask for
advice. If he had not asked, PN1 Seaman could then
have suggested the possibility of a message. As
important as his solution was to ET2 Door, his tact in
handling the situation was even more important to the
team. In no way did he belittle what the team had done,
and he used a work situation as a training opportunity.
Here is another example of supervision that
improved teamwork without interfering with
performance. A group of PNs were receiving training as
interviewers. As a final part of the interviewers training,
they conducted actual interviews at a recruit training
command. They conducted the interviews in small
interview booths with only the recruit and the trainee
present. The supervisor monitored the trainees
performance through a concealed microphone in the
interview booth. The interview validity was not affected
since the recruit was not aware of the monitoring. If a
trainee did not perform an interview properly, the
supervisor casually entered the booth and made a
plausible excuse to consult the interviewer. The
supervisor then sent the recruit out for a 5-minute break
and, while the recruit was out, made suggestions to the
interviewer for improving the interview technique.
Supervisory responsibility is inherent as portrayed
by your rating badge. The higher the rate, the greater the
responsibility. You dont gain this responsibility by only
pointing out mistakes. You must do much more. You
must be available for advice or to do whatever it takes
to get the job done.
Members often make mistakes and errors in
judgment because they want to avoid the displeasure or
sarcasm some seniors display when asked for help.
When that happens, who is at fault? But beyond fault,
who is the loser when a mistake is made? Although the
senior is at fault, the entire team suffers. Consider the
MSSN Doe is fixing spaghetti sauce for the noon
meal. Everything is coming along fine until he starts to
add the seasoning. The recipe card is smudged and all
he can read is: Pepper, cayenne 2 T. Does that T mean
teaspoon or tablespoon? He starts to ask the watch
captain, then hesitates. The last time he asked for help,
he received several pointed remarks about his ancestry.
In the end, the question still went unanswered. Looking
back at the card, he mumbles to himself, Thats a fairly
large batch of sauce, and a teaspoon is pretty small-it
must be a tablespoon.
MSSN Doe finishes the sauce, and the sauce
finishes the crewno doubt that he should have used a
MEETING TRAINING NEEDS
In trying to improve teamwork, supervisors often
substitute criticism for proper training. Criticism is a
reflection of poor supervision and usually results in
unfair treatment of team members. A better way to
improve teamwork is through training. The excuse We
dont have time for a training program is not valid. If
the contact point is that busy, you cant afford not to
We will not go into methods and techniques of
training; adequate materials are available on these
topics. Rather, we will offer some ideas that you can use
in the informal training situation.