The importance of a supportive line manager

Xie Xun standing in the middle between two staff with disabilities Gallery

In leading a team of 27 staff, it is easy to overlook the welfare of individual members. But Mr Xie Jun of restaurant chain Han’s has gone out of his way to carry out even little actions to make persons with disabilities in his team feel comfortable and accepted.

The supervisor of the Central Bakery at Han’s has, for instance, ensured that a new employee with Down’s Syndrome was not alone, even during tea breaks, as he was aware that this was his first job. Mr Xie also made the effort to integrate him with the other members of the team.

The employee’s parents were so grateful to Mr Xie for his efforts that they wrote in to Han’s to laud him for his leadership and inclusive approach.

“They come here to work, so we should not treat them like a person with disability. If it was our own relative, we would also help them in the same way,” he said. “I feel that we cannot see their disability as something different.”

Mr Xie, 32, has devised an effective method of integrating his colleagues with disabilities. As they enter the company, he would divide them into different teams, each carrying out different duties. In each team, there would be a mentor assigned to take care of the employees with disabilities in his team.

“This is effective because if the employee has any difficulty, he will know who to approach.”

Managing employees with disabilities has proven that Mr Xie has the true virtue of patience. As many employees with disabilities may have learning difficulties, he would teach them the same task every day till they get it right.

“Some are not good with remembering things, so every day we teach them the same thing. Yes, at times I do feel frustrated, but I tell myself I have to be patient, and give them room to learn,” said the determined young man, who has been managing employees with disabilities for the past four years.