My Student Driver Landed Himself In Hot Water. Almost Fired!

Topic 9969 | Page 2

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Jarod(Red)'s Comment
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Did good, don't agree with the "Im your boss" stuff, your not really his boss, your his trainer, and the "Boss" stuff doesn't really apply. You can't fire him or suspend him, you might be able to recommend it. He has to live by your truck rules and do as you ask, but your job isn't to be his boss, that's the companies job, your job is to train him to be a professional driver and prepare him for the road. He's just an employee like yourself. But I would have handled everything else the same way.

Joshua C.'s Comment
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Did good, don't agree with the "Im your boss" stuff, your not really his boss, your his trainer, and the "Boss" stuff doesn't really apply. You can't fire him or suspend him, you might be able to recommend it. He has to live by your truck rules and do as you ask, but your job isn't to be his boss, that's the companies job, your job is to train him to be a professional driver and prepare him for the road. He's just an employee like yourself. But I would have handled everything else the same way.

Definitely disrespectful especially if he had plenty of time. I agree with Jared up here about the boss part though. Some people become tyrannical and aren't mature enough to be put in a position of power/authority.

That being said, it's a very tricky balance establishing boundaries and yet trying to be somewhat friendly to one another when your living together on that small truck for 2-3 months. It's inevitable that friction will develop somedays with one another. Sounds like you have been a trainer for awhile but maybe have a no going home clause during tnt. Let the person know beforehand.

There definitely are people that will see how far they can push you. Respect is everything in a dynamic like that and he crossed lines by being late and making you wait.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14ยข per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Mike H.'s Comment
member avatar

I think you handled it fine.

What I'm wondering is, are the realities of this job starting to catch up with your student.

You had some doubts with him being young and having a young family, enough that we both sat down with him and gave him the " this is what you're in for, are you sure you want to do this" speech

I would sit down and see where his heads at. Maybe he was just being lazy and putting things off till the last min... Maybe

I would just make sure he's still committed to this.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Score: Daniel 3, New guy: GOOSE EGG

1. Gotta get home that first time. (Hey, didn't he know his son's B-day was coming up in 3 weeks?)

2. Son's first birthday. Kind of non-negotiable about the timing, but if only New Guy could have stuck it out from the git-go, instead of going home right away, and enjoy that week with the fam!

3. Three notices, including a phone call an hour before, No, get the soggy clothes out of the washer. Too bad about that $2.00. Dry them on your own time. You knew when I was going to be here. We already have a dispatch to go on! We (especially -> I <- ) can't be late!

Daniel, Mr NewGuy needs to know in the trucking business, the customer's appointment time is up at the top of the priority list. New Guy's previous existence, where he can go do things at home when he wants to, is like OVER!

Inform him that his home time comes farther down the list, when he's turned in the required number of days - you know the drill. And then only if the company can spare him and maybe his truck for off time. NewGuy has to learn the lifestyle & lack of home life if he is going to be successful in driving, and enjoy himself.

Daniel, looks like we're all on your side!

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Frito's Comment
member avatar

Just as a side thought- I would as a professional instructor, Daniel, consider the possible implications of discussing a particular student/employees performance in a public forum such as this. I'd imagine from the data supplied he could be easily identified. I can appreciate your frustration with the situation and a cursory view of the responses seem to all support your handling of it but I would assert that maybe this discussion is on the boundary of being appropriate from the training departments viewpoint. Again, just me, possibly in the trucking world, no big deal.

Bud A.'s Comment
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OK, I might be a bit hard core here, but I would have seriously considered leaving him at home. He cost you a preplan either way (assuming you couldn't do the load in time solo), but laundry? But then I remember that it might not be entirely his fault. Probably other things happened at home that made him out off doing his laundry. I mean, wife, baby, he's been away, lots to take care of.

Every time I go home I'm at risk of getting back to the truck late because my wife has no sense of what "on time" means. Yeah, we're going...after I finish this 20 minute conversation with the neighbor about nothing, and I water the plants, and we stop by the store on the way - it'll only take a minute (i.e., an hour). I've gotten in the habit of telling her I need to be on the truck and leaving three hours before the actual time. Last time home I made it out just on time...but my laundry didn't get done. Did it yesterday, in fact.

So all in all I think you did right by him. I would probably have been pretty harsh.

Now I would like to offer some (hopefully) constructive criticism to consider. First, I agree that you're not his boss, at least in the sense that he's not really your employee, even though his pay comes out of your revenue. The name on his check is Prime, not Daniel B. My trainer tried that line with me once too, but I stopped him cold.

The more important point is that reminding someone you're the boss (even if you really are and can fire them on the spot) is the weakest form of persuasion in a business setting. Without going into all the details, there are much better foundations to build on so that when you need to influence someone to perform their job better, they'll actually listen and take it to heart.

The most persuasive of these is known as "referent power." This is a fancy term for the kind of power where someone wants to imitate you and to please you by doing a good job. If you listen to interviews with great business people or athletes or actors or really any top performer in any field, you will discover that somewhere along the line, they had a mentor (a coach, a manager, a parent, a trainer) who made them want to be the best they could be. They will often talk of the terror of disappointing that person and the joy they felt when they were praised by them.

There's a lot that goes into getting referent power, but a few keys are to praise whenever they do something well, and make that praise public whenever possible. Criticize carefully and in private (yes, I'm violating that one right now) and provide specific feedback to help them improve, focusing on behaviors rather than attitudes. And generally encourage them to find in themselves the potential that you see in them. It's exhausting work sometimes, you will fail at times, and sometimes the person just won't respond, so it can be very disappointing and disheartening.

"I'm your boss" is called "titular power" (the power of having that title). Pick your least favorite politician and ask yourself if you would do anything they said because their title is "President" or "Senator" or "Governor" or "Mayor" and you'll get a sense of just how weak that kind of power is. "But they don't pay me and they can't fire me!" you might object. OK, but even if you do, I can quit and find another job, and then your title will be "ex-boss" and I will tell funny stories about you when I'm out drinking with my buddies.

There are other kinds of power to influence others. The one you get almost automatically when training a person to drive a truck is "expert power." You know how to do something they don't know how to do, but want to learn to do. But keep in mind that that is not nearly as persuasive as referent power, and it does not automatically make you a good trainer. I've seen countless people who could sell better than most get promoted to manager and fall flat on their face, and I've heard lots of stories of drivers who can "git r done" who are miserable at training new drivers.

I don't think you are one of those, Daniel, or I wouldn't have wasted my time writing this on a tiny phone keyboard. You did right by taking him back on your truck and setting expectations. Now praise him when he does well and call your FM in his presence and say he's doing well so he can hear it, and hold him accountable when he screws up - but privately - and see if he changes his behavior.

Hope this helps!

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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Two thumbs up for Bud's reply!

Deb R.'s Comment
member avatar

Great advice, Bud!

Bud A.'s Comment
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I forgot one other thing. When you are teaching an adult, it is critical to explain why you are doing something a particular way, or why you want them to do it this way. It isn't effective to say, "Because I say so." That sometimes works with children, but not with adults. They need to know why it's better to be early than on time, and why you need to start slowing down a half mile ahead of the turn or speed limit change or stop sign, and why you need to plan when you're going to do laundry.

So, for example, if you calmly explain what happened as a consequence of his being late, including the financial impact, he is more likely to never repeat that behavior again. And in the process you will be teaching him what it takes to be a successful driver himself. He may not have had the benefit of this website and may not have been raised in an environment where not everyone gets a trophy (or a bunch of good paying loads, which is better than any trophy I know of).

I'm not saying you did this, just a general principle of training I picked up from my wife, who is an amazing trainer of people. (Now if I can train her to leave on time, I'll be a great trainer.)

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Todd M.'s Comment
member avatar

I didn't like the fact that you ratted him out to your DM. Read the kid the riot act if you want but keep it in house. No need to get anyone else involved.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
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