I spoke with a young VP, the son of the owner of a manufacturing facility. At one point during our conversation, he said, “Karin, I honestly think that most of my workers are stupid. Some people have ‘it’ and some people don’t. Most ideas we get from the workers, which are not many, I find to be stupid ideas. Seriously, how creative can a guy on the assembly line be? They want to spend minimum time in the plant and they want to get the highest possible pay. That’s it.”

Three very simple questions sprang to my mind. The first one was, “Why would you hire stupid people in the first place?” The second was, “How do your employees manage to stay in the job if they are stupid?” And finally, “Did they become stupid after they started working for you?” 

I then asked him the following: “How many managers and supervisors do you know who make a sincere effort to bring out the best in their employees? I don’t think people are stupid. They need guidance, leadership and support on how to become better at what they do and how to become better individuals. I have met more open-minded people on the production floor who willingly adapt to change than I have met in managerial positions. What actions do you take to address this issue?” 

He couldn’t really answer my questions, but if he thinks that his workers are stupid, I have to wonder what his workers think of him. There is a difference between being unknowledgeable and being stupid. Being unknowledgeable can be corrected through education and training. Stupidity is a lack of intelligence, understanding, reason or wit. 

Excerpt from my book “How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy?”

I encourage you to be aware how you think and speak about others. It’s a reflection of yourself.

Speak Your Mind