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Thread: Self-doubt and poor self discipline in the workplace

  1. #1

    Default Self-doubt and poor self discipline in the workplace

    I work in a fish market and we recently acquired a new fishmonger. I have been charged with the task of training him, which strikes my ego since the boss knows that I am planning to become a teacher and he reckons me as somewhat reliable.

    That being said, he has taken notice and has even complimented me on my scaffolding of his skills. This new guy's a difficult one to work with, since he's immature and irresponsible. I suppose I should get used to it, considering my future profession. He needs a reliable male role model as he is an unwed father of an unexpected child with zero apparent ambition.

    Last week was okay, but in the course of the past couple of days I erred in memory and judgment.

    I was shucking a dozen oysters and I cut myself.. it hurt so bad I shouted an obscenity within 5 feet of him. He just giggled incessantly.

    I forgot to weigh a whole fish before gutting it. TWICE

    Other patterns of inconsistent behavior which include me standing around eating dates and telling him what to do while he is busy working. (Kind of what I'm expected to do since I'm supervising and evaluating him)

    As a result of this, he probably thinks I'm a chump. Since he's underage in the United States, he asked me to buy beer for him, but later redacted his statement saying "Never mind, that would be a dick move on my part." I simply replied "No, I won't buy you beer, because I would get in trouble."

    It frustrates me so when I'm in a leadership role in the workplace and my weaknesses are made apparent. This has led to serious self-doubt about my abilities to lead in the future. Anyone else experiencing this as well?

  2. #2


    I think one thing you're learning the importance of is perception. Any time person who's developing people lower than him (or her) needs to put forth a certain face for them, and a separate one for everyone else. As a former teacher, and this is an analogy you should focus on, I can tell you that the person I was in front of a class was not the same person I was in the teacher's room. How you do your own work and interact with peers is one thing. You simply need to be a different person when you're a mentor. Watch any movie about boot camp and note how the drill sergeant treats the recruits. I'm sure in private, a drill sergeant views recruits as people with a lot of potential they can realize through training and discipline. But that face isn't going to get the job done if in front of them.

    Tl;dr People you're training/teaching aren't your peers. Don't treat them like they are.

  3. #3


    I know the feeling very well. Being a supervisor myself I have a hard time getting people to do what I tell them, because someone else has undermined my authority before. It then goes on and makes me question my leadership skills.

  4. #4


    honestly, most people would probably try to justify their incompetence. you're admitting your faults and that's a good thing. now you've got to quit beating yourself up about it -- if you learn from your mistakes and do better in the future then in a way it was a good thing that you made the mistake in the first place.

  5. #5


    Actually, what I feel is that as a supervisor, you have to set a form of example.

    With that being said, my boss consistently uses vulgar language around me as I work in the engineering and construction industry which is pretty much a rough place to work in. But what matters most is that when you err, you know how to rectify the situation and not just beat yourself up there and then. And that, would be considering having the leadership quality to lead others.

    Also, everyone has weaknesses. It is impossible to expect a leader to be perfect in all ways. So don't think so much about it, and learn instead how to manage people with efficiency and to encourage them and give them something to work for.

  6. #6


    As a young leader, I've learned leaders aren't perfect people. I think what makes leaders different is their willingness and courage to do the hard stuff--like admitting mistakes, telling the truth, and being willing to take responsibility for more than themselves or to provide guidance/direction.

    It's a challenging position--you're not a friend, yet not a tyrant. Make your values known and admit when you make mistakes or contradict yourself (it happens) when you can. Of course, there is no ideal situation this applies to (there rarely is) so you can only make the best of it. You want to teach reality (problem-solving, error-checking), not perfection, in my opinion.

    Anyway, that's my leadership style at least. Take it with a grain of salt.

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