Good Cop Bad Cop

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Good Cop Bad Cop

By Stephen Bucaro

Are you a manager who's wondering why other department
managers don't have the same personnel problems you have?
Are you a supervisor whose manager thinks you can't control
the workers under you? In this article, I reveal a
technique used by shrewd managers and their supervisors to
maximize the performance of the personnel in their

- Note, if your rank is below the supervisory level, please
discontinue reading this article. This information is for
managers and supervisors eyes only.

First, let's put a foundation under the information you
about to receive.

- The most difficult, complex, and critical resource to
control in any organization is not the business process,
not the materials, not the technology ... it's the people.
People are much more complicated to deal with than even the
most advanced technology. The biggest budget item for any
business is labor costs and the cost of employee benefits.
A business that doesn't get maximum performance from their
people resources has little chance of survival.

- If you are a manager who thinks you have the power in
your department, let me educate you right now - the workers
can make or break you. The workers have the power in your
department. I have seen a situation where the department
supervisor and manager didn't get along. The supervisor
conspired with the workers to make the manager look bad.
Eventually, the manager was fired.

As a manager, if you don't have rapport and complete trust
in your supervisor, you had better sit down with that
individual and come to an understanding, or get rid of them
immediately. A manager and supervisor must work together
like a well oiled machine or the employees, not the manager,
will be running the department.

Where the manager and supervisor fit into the organizational

A manager looks after the interests of the company. The
company allocates resources to the manager and the manager
uses those resources to accomplish the company's objectives.
A manager needs to be diligent in the use of the company's

A manager might say to the workers, "Tardiness and
absenteeism are too high in this department. We are going
to start issuing reprimands to anyone with an unexcused
absence or anyone who comes in late for work. There are
also too many mistakes coming out of this department and if
the work doesn't improve, someone will be fired."

A supervisor develops a rapport with, and looks after the
interests of, the workers. The supervisor becomes coach,
protector, friend, and nurturer of the workers. A
supervisor needs to be diligent in the use of the workers
physical and emotional resources.

A supervisor might say to the workers,"The company is on a
tangent to come down on anybody who misses work or comes in
late, so I'm asking everyone to make an extra effort to get
to work on time until this blows over. They have also been
complaining about a few mistakes we made, so can anyone
think of a way we can double check our work to keep them
off our back?"

What goes on behind closed doors.

It seems like the manager is a stern taskmaster, while the
supervisor is a good, kind person. But behind closed doors,
the manager and the supervisor have conspired together and
are playing that familiar game "bad cop, good cop", where
the "bad cop" threatens and intimidates the suspect, while
the "good cop" sympathizes with and befriends the suspect.

The manager is feeding the supervisor all the inside
information about the organization and company's objectives.
The supervisor is feeding the manager all the inside
information about the workers' problems and performance
issues. Together, they formulate a plan to get maximum
performance from the workers and meet the company's

The supervisor might say to the manager, "I'll tell Betty
that I explained to you about her personal problems, but
you said if she misses one more day of work you'll fire her."

The manager might say to the supervisor, "Start packing
some of the equipment we don't use every day, but if anyone
asks, say it hasn't been decided yet if our department is
going to move to Ohio."

Out on the floor.

The workers are performing well because their supervisor
is a good guy who understands their personal problems and
looks after their interests. Occasionally, the supervisor
has to deliver some bad news to the workers, but it's not
the supervisor's fault. Blame it on the "bad cop" manager.

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About the Author

Copyright(C) 2005 Bucaro TecHelp. To learn how to maintain your computer and use it more effectively to design a Web
site and make money on the Web visit To subscribe to Bucaro TecHelp Newsletter visit