I was sitting in one of the partner’s offices today with a couple of the partners of the firm.  One of them, who shall remain nameless, was asking our opinion on a new watch he had just purchased.  It is a really very nice watch.  (Just in case he is reading this).  One of us referred to the watch as a chronograph. Frankly we were not sure if it is a chronograph because it is a single function analog watch. So we looked up chronograph and discovered that a chronograph is a watch that also has a stop watch function.  Interesting right?  A little window into the fascinating practice of law.


OK, not really, but I told you all of that so I could tell you this.  As I left the room I mentioned that today was a good day because we had all learned something.  This popped into my head because, well, I’m odd like that, and earlier in the day I had been listening to the Dan Patrick radio show.  At the end of each show, Mr. Patrick asks all of this coworkers what they “learned today.”  The people on the show then take turns telling the audience what they “learned” from the guests on the show.


Now Mr. Patrick may be doing this as a joke, or as a simple consistent way to end the show, I don’t know, but I think it’s kind of cool.  It is also something that supervisors might want to copy.  OK, not really copy, because you don’t have a radio show and I’m not really suggesting you ask all of your subordinates what they learned today.  In fact, you need to modify this little habit a bit to make it work for you as a supervisor. But what if you asked yourself every day, or week, “What did I learn about one of my employee’s today?” 


If the answer to that question is “nothing” well then it was not a very good supervisory day was it?  But if you make a habit of this and start learning something new about your employees and how they feel about their work every day or week then that means you were probably out talking to them.  And if you are out talking to your employees then they just might think that you are actually interested in them.  And if they think you are actually interested in their lives and what is going on they may just come to you when they have a problem or a concern and not go to someone else, like oh, I don’t know, a union steward. 


And that makes you a better supervisor now doesn’t it?  So what did you learn today?