“Thoughtful Leadership”

A new concept in Pret that the training department (where the development manager who issued me with the disciplinary for my electronic communication, but then entering into un-allowed electronic communication, is part of) that was developed out of my turmoil, will not work.

I was bullied throughout my bereavement by several line managers and their bosses in different shops, as there is no policy on how to handle bereavement at work and no training for leaders, in fact the majority of Pret managers have neither people- nor leadership skills.

To develop a concept of “thoughtful leadership” taking a lot of what I have suggested to Pret, and using it as if it came from them, will not work as Pret continues with these two styles of management:

1. Micromanagement and fear management to maximize profit, putting extreme pressure on employees on the shop floors and kitchens.

2. Pret creates concepts like the “Pret Values & Behaviours” or now “Thoughtful Leadership”, gives those concepts to leaders, but doesn’t check that these principles are actually being implemented. HQ throws the ball into the court of the managers and think with that their job is done. Easy peasy. They’ve done their 925, while expecting the labourers on the forefront of the business to go the extra mile. Good one.

Managers and leaders have to sign endless rules, so when things go wrong HQ is safe and the blame is put “downwards”, not upwards. It is basically the unwritten rule where the Captain of the ship abandons the ship and jumps off FIRST and leaves the crew and passengers behind. That is the Pret leadership style for you. Just blame downwards, never take responsibility, just cover yourself.

That one was on the house! 😉

As long as the money rolls in, all seems well and no reason for concern, unless employees raise the issues via stressful grievances to the HR department that does not conduct impartial hearings. Back to square one.

A manager can get a disciplinary for removing a sandwich label when the product has run out, as the customer cannot see the label in order to ask for the product to be made, therefore the money flow stops. How is this dealt with? The manager is pressured with disiplinaries then in turn pressures his team to keep on producing the item, hence more money.

But a manager will not get a disciplinary for bullying and discriminating an employee who is going through grief or mental health issues.

Thoughtful leadership will be explained in leadership courses and printed in training materials in Pret or has already “rolled out”, but without a CLEAR policy on zero tolerance regarding discriminating and bullying employees in grief or mental illness, it will just be a suggestion that stressed managers will ignore.

Ten years of this and my experience of the shop floor with the majority of managers incapable and/or frankly not caring about their teams has made me ill. I would have never ever imagined this would happen to me and also turn me into a person I am working on to get better again. If I didn’t have all of this in writing, black on white I would sometimes think if this was just a nightmare I had.

And if to write about this is my only hope to heal and raise awareness, I am more lucky than others who just left in silence or worse…

I live only once, and after a long period of traumatic grief and terrible anxiety, I decided that life has to be lived and my story be told. But this time, not on the house!

Life is short, be kind to yourself and others. And don’t let others knock you down. If you get knocked down, keep getting back up and talk, write, sing about it. If you have the mental capacity, go to court, if not keep talking. Don’t be silent, don’t be intimidated and afraid. Raise awareness, starting with your family and friends, for them to support you and pass on your experience should you not be able to.

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