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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WORK HORSES

Within any company or organization, there is at least one person managers count on time and again to get a particular job done. Such a person is commonly referred to as the "Work Horse" of the group, the "Go-to guy" or the "Iron Man." Such a person is not necessarily the smartest or most physically endowed, but can be counted on to see a task through to completion based on sheer will and determination, something we used to call "dedication." The Work Horse may not be a thoroughbred, but possesses certain talents and strengths we find vital for running a company. Without such people, companies tend to flounder, thereby they should be prized and coveted. Quite often they are not, unfortunately.
Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year we saddle up the Work Horse and have him pull the cart on his appointed rounds, feeding on nothing more than a modest diet. The Work Horse seldom complains even when the load gets heavy. He simply perseveres and keeps going until the job is done or he drops over from exhaustion. Driving such a person is a deeply seeded love of the job and sense of responsibility. He does not think in terms of making a quick buck. Instead, his personal and professional lives are one and the same, it is his livelihood.
Should the Work Horse leave, pandemonium tends to break loose, at least for awhile until someone else picks up the load or the company goes defunct. This brings up an interesting point, what makes the Work Horse unique is his intimacy with the system of the company, complete with all its foibles. Over time, the Work Horse has learned all of the weaknesses of the system and how to get around them, thereby making the person indispensable. Work Horses can perhaps be best described as "resourceful."
Despite his abilities, the Work Horse is typically taken for granted. This can be dangerous as the Work Horse likes to know his work is noticed and appreciated. A little recognition now and then can work wonders, be it nothing more than being treated with courtesy and respect. Abuse tends to wear out the Work Horse and makes him less productive.
Until such time as managers can move their workers around like interchangeable parts in a machine, they would be wise to take note of their Work Horses and care for them accordingly. Work Horses may not be glamorous, but they're the ones that get the job done.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
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