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Ask John Gibbons, Leader of Men
2006-08-24 06:20
by Philip Michaels

Dr. Catfish Stew, Ph.D, World-Famous Man of Science, didn't acquire his vast wealth of knowledge by lurking around Internet chat rooms. So while he expands his awesome mind powers by greedily devouring yet another volume of ancient lore, let us welcome a new guest commentor, Toronto Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons. Now in his second full season as Blue Jays skipper, Mr. Gibbons holds a master's degree in virility and is recognized the world over as a first-rate motivator. He's graciously agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to field your questions on a subject near and dear to his heart -- the relationship between supervisors and their employees.

Dear John Gibbons

Lately, at work, I've been having trouble with one of my younger employees. He's enthusiastic and he shows a lot of promise, but he doesn't take instruction well, and he can come off as a bit of a know-it-all. I worry that his attitude is alienating some of his co-workers. Any advice on how I can bring him in line without dimming any of that enthusiasm?

--B. Housman, Columbus, Ohio

The problem you describe is a common occurrence with many people just entering the work force, and it calls for the most delicate type of situational leadership. I have a particular approach that's worked well in the past; maybe it will pay dividends for you, too. At your next staff meeting, take this promising-yet-off-putting employee and challenge him to a fistfight in front of everyone else. If he backs down from your challenge, then you've effectively shown him who's boss. And if he's foolish enough to scrape knuckles with you, well, then it's high time for you to knock some humility into him. Good luck!

Dear John Gibbons

I oversee a sales group. One of my more dependable direct reports just turned in what I feel is a disappointment performance for the past quarter. What's the best way to convey my disappointment in this turn of events without adversely affecting morale?

--Dan R., Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

I'm already on the record for advocating public confrontations -- very public confrontations. But sometimes, even that isn't enough. So I would suggest the next time this failure of an employee gets up from his desk to take a coffee break or chat up the receptionist, you follow him into the hallway and charge after him like a bull that's spotted a red cape. Sure, noses might get bloodied in the process, but you can't make a managerial omelet without cracking a few skulls.

Er... eggs. I meant to say eggs.

Dear John Gibbons

My company is currently undergoing a massive strategic shift that some employees have been reluctant to embrace. What can I do to make sure that everyone's on the same page? --L. Schmichaels, Stafford, Va.

I have often found that getting away from the constraints of the workplace does wonders for team-building and morale. Take your employees out to a local watering hole. Buy them some drinks. And really take the time to get to know them.

And if they're still not seeing things your way, grab one of the empty beer bottles and shatter it against the table. Then use the shards of glass to carve those Negative Nellies a new smile.

Dear John Gibbons

I was recently passed over for a promotion at work--

Folding chair. Right to the base of the HR guy's spine. Incapacitates a man in seconds. Next question.

Dear John Gibbons

Some of my employees and I just aren't seeing eye-to-eye lately about all sorts of things. I give them responsibilities and to-dos, and they just aren't being carried out. I'm wondering if there are steps I can take to repair our fractured relationship.

-- B.B., Ann Arbor, Mi.

Sure there is. Send out a memo announcing that there's a new change in the company dress code -- from now on, each one of them will be required to wear a pink, frilly dress until they start toeing the line. And if that doesn't boost their performance, just give 'em a good, random punch. Right in the ol' breadbasket.

Dear John Gibbons

Many of your suggestions seem inappropriate, overly violent, and, well, frankly, horrifying. I... don't have a question, really. Just that observation.

--E. Carson, Salem, Ore.

Sounds like maybe you should be wearing that pink, frilly dress.

Dear John Gibbons

I think I'm going to have to fire you if you don't start controlling your temper.

--J.P. Riccardi, Toronto

Of course, like any employee, I serve at the pleasure of management, and if it's time for a change, then so be it. I've enjoyed my time in this organization. Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing for my left fist, The Widowmaker, and my right fist, Dr. Thaddeus Bonecrusher, and I'm afraid they'll both have some very pointed things to say in our exit interview.

2006-08-24 07:22:19
1.   Chyll Will
It worked for Billy Martin, it worked for Leo Durocher, it can work for you!

(not me tho, I'm told I'm sorta laid-back...)

2006-08-24 08:46:42
2.   Jon Weisman
It's funny because it's true. Or because it's funny. One of those.
2006-08-25 11:23:26
3.   bleacherdave

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.