Johnny Supervisor

Superior Skills for New and Tenured Supervisors

Turkeys and Listening


Thanksgiving of 1975, my grandparents came early to help us cook. Grandpop was the “master chef” in the family – best cook I’ve ever known. While prepping the meal, we discussed the recent passing of an uncle and took guesses about the date of his upcoming funeral. The phone rang and my mother answered. It was my cousin Mare (daughter of the newly deceased). Admittedly not the best cook, she called to speak to the “master” and get some cooking tips. Before handing the phone over to Grandpop, my mother expressed her condolences to Mare and learned that the funeral would take place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Then she passed the phone to the “master” so Mare could pick his brain about spices. Grandpop was apprehensive to take the call given Mare had just lost her dad. Nervously wondering what to say to her, he only heard half of her question when she asked “how to dress the turkey.” Grandpop hesitated, then said awkwardly, “Aw honey, I don’t know…I’m sure he’ll look fine in a blue suit.”

The moral: When we can’t listen fully due to time, distractions (or nerves) we run the risk of replying with some silly, unrelated answer. It happens a lot in the workplace and can make us look like an a**! In the turkey’s case (and my Grandpop’s) the listening barrier provided an amusing story to share over T-day meals for four decades and counting.

Have a peaceful Thanksgiving!



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