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There is a wonderful piece in Fast Company by Hayley Benham-Archdeacon in which she writes about her seven years working in six different Trader Joe’s stores, concluding that “they have the best managers possible, consistently.”

An excerpt:

“Trader Joe’s hierarchy is organized unlike anywhere else I’ve worked. Each store runs with one captain, and a team of eight to 12 mates. Everyone else is crew. And yes, they are thorough with the sailor-ship deck theme.

“I thought that having so many middle managers would cause problems, but in fact it turns out to be good for everyone. Oversight of opening and closing shifts are distributed evenly, and tasks and assignments are rotated throughout the week, which means no one is stuck taking in the frozen truck at 4 a.m. every single morning, or closing out our computers every night until midnight. Maybe that’s why managers are able to stay so nice to us. And if you don’t feel comfortable going to one manager about a problem or personal event? No problem, you have 10 others to speak to.”

And another:

“Throughout my time working at Trader Joe’s, I had 11 other jobs and internships. But it wasn’t until I worked in other environments - fast-paced, prestigious offices where I wrote for newspapers, interned for politicians - that I suspected I was working for somebody less qualified than myself. It never helped when my under-passionate manager was less perceptive, less flexible, and less respectful about my input. I’ve worked far too many places where the managers talked to women like they were puppies, or spent most of their time peacocking rather than managing, or treated me like a time-suck rather than a contributing part of a team.”

The conclusion: “Workplaces often like to put you in a room together and tell you you’re a family now, but it was intensely true at Trader Joe’s.”

You can read the entire piece here.
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