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Leadership Makes the Difference

Whether you’re in charge of a crew, a division or the entire company, your leadership makes all the difference. Here are six steps from the Ohio Public Facilities Maintenance Association that you can take to boost your leadership acumen:

1. Level Out. No one wants to have to guess what kind of mood you’re in or adjust to constant mood changes. Level out and watch the tension level on your team evaporate.

2. Communicate. Workers thrive on feedback, recognition and praise. Make an effort to communicate in these areas and you’ll see immediate results.

3. Play Fair. Make sure you treat everyone as equals. Workers resent preferential treatment given to certain employees.

4. Listen. If workers feel you argue with them each time you talk, they won’t bring you questions, concerns or suggestions. Discipline yourself to listen and keep yourself in the loop.

5. Be There. Employees hate having to wait to discuss a problem with you. The more available you are, the faster problems can be solved — and the greater the collaborative spirit among your people.

6. Be prepared. From absenteeism and ergonomics, to new legal dangers and emergencies, the best leaders are prepared before situations arise.

Avoid This Safety Program Trap

Safety expert Dale Malcolm tells us that when a company’s safety program ties cash incentives to its accident rate, accidents that do occur may go unreported by employees who want to protect their incentive payments — until a major accident occurs. Problems also can arise when employees who want to report accidents are pressured not to report them by others who want to protect their cash payments. Malcolm advises keeping cash incentives out of safety programs. He says to focus on safety training and creating a safety-oriented culture instead.

A 31-day Tube Steak Celebration

The average American eats approximately 60 hot dogs every year — that’s more than 20 billion hot dogs total. The Fourth of July weekend alone sees some 155 million hot dogs consumed, so July is designated National Hot Dog Month.

Frankfort, Germany, is traditionally credited with originating the frankfurter in 1484, but it is likely that the American hot dog derives from a widespread common European sausage brought here by butchers of several nationalities.

There are reports of a German immigrant selling dachshund or “little dog” sausages, along with milk rolls and sauerkraut, from a pushcart in New York’s Bowery during the 1860s. In 1871, Charles Feltman opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand, selling 3,684 dachshund sausages in a milk roll during his first year in business.

The year 1893 was an important date in hot dog history. The Colombian Exposition in Chicago brought hordes of visitors who consumed mass quantities of sausages; they liked this food that was easy to eat, convenient and inexpensive. That same year, sausages became the standard fare at baseball parks.

The term “hot dog” was coined in 1901 at the New York Polo Grounds. One cold April day, concessionaire Harry Stevens was losing money trying to sell ice cream and soda. He sent his salesmen out to buy up all the dachshund sausages they could find, and an equal number of rolls. An hour later, his vendors were hawking hot dogs in portable hot water tanks with, “They’re red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” In the press box, sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan was nearing a deadline and desperate for an idea. Hearing the vendors, he hastily drew a cartoon of barking dachshund sausages nestled warmly in buns. Not sure how to spell “dachshund,” he simply wrote “hot dog.” The cartoon was a sensation — and hot dogs never looked back.

Hot dog minutiae:

  • Sara Lee made a 1,996-foot weiner in honor of the 1996 Olympics.

  • Americans clearly favor mustard on their hot dogs, although kids prefer ketchup. (Travel tip for tourists visiting Chicago: putting ketchup on a hot dog is tantamount to blasphemy — you could end up in the trunk of a car in the remote parking lot at O’Hare.)

  • Mad Martha’s on Martha’s Vineyard offers hot dog ice cream.

  • Americans will eat 27 million hot dogs in major league ballparks this summer — enough to stretch from Yankee Stadium to Dodgers’ Stadium.