Do You Work With Superman?

Does you work with Superman? I’m thinking about the person who thinks they can handle it all on their own. They believe they can leap tall buildings, solve all problems, motivate employees by their mere presence, and handle everything. There is no need for teamwork, that person knows they can take care of anything.

I once worked with a manager who told me there was no need to involve employees since his ideas were better than anything they could come up with. Regardless of the problem, he could save everyone the time and effort by just doing everything himself.

Just like Superman, this person also had his Kryptonite. His attempts to solve all problems on his own resulted in low staff morale and virtually no sense of ownership of the process. This created in new problems, which our leader chose to blame on others. Oblivious to the outcome of his actions, he kept trying to do it all.

This problem is not just isolated to management. Co-workers and union leaders may also believe they can or should solve everything on their own. The result is equally destructive.

Employee engagement is the opposite of working with Superman. Effective leaders recognize the benefit of involving employees in all facets of the workplace. They recognize the unique talent and expertise of all employees, using the diversity in the workforce as a strength to solve problems. They know that together, we are smarter than any of us.

Even Superman spent most of his time in reactive mode, fixing problems and putting our fires. Resolving these issues is important, but it does not permit us to find ways to improve the work process. When we involve employees, we can accomplish more by working proactively to improve the work system.

After all, even Superman needed help now and then.



About CALMC Blog

Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to involving employers and employees to preserve jobs, resolve workplace issues, and promote labor-management cooperation. Visit our website at
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