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Re: Lend an Ear of Butt-Out?

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FACT: Humor me here ... I have a question that touches on tow operator safety after reading where an east-coast tow operator was arrested for a series of (alleged) events.


Tow company employees, especially dispatchers and drivers, work under plenty of job related stresses and dangers. Long-hours and lack of sleep can easily wear personnel down to some point where burn-out may be the culprit, But, sometimes the stresses at home or domestic relationships create related problems that come back to the workplace.


Thinking back to my earlier days, I remember a few parenting and marriage issues that unfortunately followed me to work. Working as a tow operator requires 100-percent concentration on the tasks of towing and recovery. When family problems are the root of operator behavior, work slow-down or changed attitude, how can (you) as boss or supervisor help?


I personally have an open-door policy, but some bosses simply are not reachable nor do they care.


While it’s true that everyone's allowed a melt-down once in a while, what do you (as boss or supervisor) do to reach out to your employees?


Do you should you do anything?


I believe that bosses and supervisors, who share an (at-length) relationship with their employees, are more apt to understand when the employee is struggling or working differently from their norm, and react accordingly without emotion. At some point, a caring, but, non-pushy, "How can I help", may be the difference that prevents employee over-load, them walking off the job, or worse yet, experiencing an accident or incident where they or someone else is injured or killed. Should you lend an ear or butt out?      R

Randall C. Resch

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Lend an ear but keep it professional. While it is great to be friends with our employees, we must remain impartial so that our judgement as a supervisor is not cloudy when a difficult decision must be made. It is all too easy to overlook indicators of serious mental health or drug/alcohol abuse problems when we are very close to someone. Hell, I am a trained drug recognition expert for the trucking industry -having taught the class to hundreds of trucking supervisors- yet I failed to recognize the behaviors in my own son prior to his drug fueled suicide. Be cautious is all I am saying.


That said, I am still very close friends with several former employees, however I was able to keep it professional when we worked together -even terminating one on the spot for gross insubordination. He and I are still close to this day, and last time I stayed over at his house while passing thru town he remarked how getting fired that day hurt but it caused him to reflect on how he was acting and made him a better man today.


I teach in my defensive driving class to leave the distractions behind while driving although in reality it is easier said than done. It does not hurt to be there for your team, often all someone needs is a person willing to listen without judgement, not even offering a solution just an ear.

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