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Everything I needed to know about life, I learned from working at Starbucks part VI September 9, 2008

Posted by Michelle, with dignity in life, starbucks.
Tags: ,

I’ve been confronted with some leadership conundrums lately as a shift supervisor.  How does one be a good leader to those under you, while also reconciling what’s required of you by the big guy?  How does one become effective as a supervisor when you feel someone doesn’t take you seriously?  How do you overcome a small thing like sexism, or more specifically, how do I overcome someone who has a hard time accepting female authority figures? 


In the face of adversity, how does one gauge whether or not they step up to the plate?  I think it’s the reaction of those around you, not necessarily the means to the end.  Here’s an example:

When some regional vice presidents were on their way to our store, it was up to me and a few other partners to get the store looking tip top for their visit.  I did what I could to step it up and make sure that things were done, and from what I understand, the store looked great and our manager was quite impressed.  I don’t lead or do what I do for praise from a higher up, but until I said something about it, there was no recognition really.   Not verbally and directly, the kind of recognition that really gets people to work harder for you.  People do respond to gratitude. Well, I may not have gotten much verbal thanks from those higher than me, but I received some nice words of thanks from a couple of my baristas from that day.


Since those words of thanks, my attitude has changed.  I realize that I don’t really work for the recognition of my boss, her boss, or his boss.  I work for other reasons completely.  I want to be a good supervisor so that my baristas have a good shift and leave work feeling uplifted.  I want to be a good barista to our customers to see that smile on their faces when I ask them how they are, how their families are, or remember they were having a rough day at work the day before.  I work to put smiles on peoples faces, and that’s what keeps me going.  Not recognition from the company itself.  

Now, onto my next point. 

Other than simply asking my poor barista is it would help if I had a penis to get him to take what I say seriously, is there any other way to get past his aversion to female authority figures?  I have tried praise, being friendly, being stern and serious, and it seems that none of these tactics work in getting him to respond to me in a way that I need to get my work (and everyone else’s work) done.  I’m at a loss.



1. Holly - September 9, 2008

you said penis now you’re going to get even more blog hits 🙂

i would like to discuss strategy with you on this one. it’s time to take matters into our own hands.

2. dreamstela - September 9, 2008

Haha. Penis

I guess so, because I had the hardest time last night, and when I think about how he never gives Eric a hard time, it infuriates me. Ugh.

3. Erica - September 10, 2008

So, I have been in management for years and I have run into this on occasion. You just have to show him who is the boss in a man-ly way. I guess that sounds terrible, but it is easier and nicer than it sounds. It just takes a man longer to realize that you do know what you are doing. You are in the south honey and men are stupid down there. You will be able to get results out of him, it unfortunately takes longer than a normal person. I know that you are a great boss and he will catch on soon-or later or I suppose the big boss of A will get rid of him, because well she is a woman too and it will get on her nerves as well if he doesn’t play well with women.

4. dreamstela - September 10, 2008

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Erica! I’m just not sure that my nature allows me to be a male type authority figure, I’m not motherly, I think. But I certainly will be thinking about that.

5. Lily - September 10, 2008

Inspirational. The part about working for those you serve and the betterment of yourself and your abilities. That is often the only thing that gets me through my day sometimes. Lord knows my supervisors do NOT inspire great work, but I love the business and when it comes down to it, what I do is COOL, and I want to get good enough here to take my skills and move on. And I won’t do that if I float by because I resent my bosses. Well said.

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